Meet our Staff
Come by and visit the Outreach office.
Jessica Yakou - Student Success Coordinator
Hello, my name is Jessica Yakou and I am the Acting Student Success Coordinator in the High School and Community Relations (Outreach) department at Cuyamaca College. I started my academic journey at Cuyamaca after graduating high school and instantly formed a love for higher education. I have worked in various areas on campus including Counseling, DSPS, Student Affairs, and now Outreach! I am the first in my family to attend college and am so thankful for the support I received from the staff and faculty at Cuyamaca. I transferred to San Diego State University and in 2013; I received my B.A. in sociology and a minor in psychology. I am now preparing to start a master's program in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs at SDSU in fall of 2014. I am excited to see where this new journey takes me!
Vanna Putrus - Outreach Assistant
Hi there, my name is Vanna Putrus and I am the High School and Community Relations (Outreach) Department Assistant at Cuyamaca College. I have been working at Cuyamaca since 2012, where I started in the Counseling Department. I graduated from Valhalla High School in 2009. I was never really involved but I was an A student and I did enjoy school and learning. However, I knew I wasn't ready to go to a daunting university because I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I decided to attend Cuyamaca to complete my GE requirements and save money so I could later transfer to San Diego State University. I started at Cuyamaca having a couple majors in mind. When it was time to transfer to SDSU, I decided on one of my choices: Interior Design. I enjoyed it, but I quickly learned about the many problems within the program and the job market for Interior Design. However, I feel like that was the excuse I needed to switch my major to Sociology so that I could later go for my Master's in counseling. Working at Cuyamaca peaked my interest in becoming an academic and personal college counselor from the moment I began. Even though I feel like I knew this is what I was meant to do, I don't feel like my time in the Interior Design program was wasted because I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and everything that we encounter teaches us something. I will graduate from SDSU with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology and a minor in Art/Art History in May 2015, and I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. Then I will move on to get a Master's degree in a Counseling Program. I'm beyond excited to see what the future holds!
Yndira Gallegos - Data Specialist
Hello, My name is Yndira Gallegos and I am 22 years old. I was born and raised in San Diego. I am the Data Specialist in the High School and Community Relations Department at Cuyamaca College. I attended Valhalla High School and graduated in 2010. I started my college career at Cuyamaca College where I was able to receive two Associates degrees, one in Behavioral Sciences and the other in Psychology. Cuyamaca was a great place to start my college career due to the wonderful teachers and beautiful campus. I then transferred to San Diego State University where I currently attend and am majoring in Psychology hoping to become a Preschool teacher. I am planning on returning to Cuyamaca College to get my associates in Child Development. I am attempting to become a preschool teacher in hopes of helping children's' development and future. I believe that you should “Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later” - Og Mandino
Mickey McClain - Student Ambassador
Hey there. My name is Mickey and I am a Student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I'll spare you my life story and cut to the point; the summer of 2010 wasn't the finest phase of my life. I was graduating from Valhalla high school, true, but had no sense of direction nor purpose- those four years of incessant, crushing apathy had caught up to me. So after a tidal wave of encouragement from my counselors and teachers, I took a lead from my brother- grudgingly, of course, as he's my brother- and enrolled at Cuyamaca College to see where the wind would take me. I honestly wasn't expecting much, but it turned out to be one of the few decisions in my life that wasn't a mistake. That insane drive for more knowledge resurfaced from all those years ago when I was a kid foraging through the sagebrush of San Diego. I realized just how much I could help others by applying all that knowledge. As of today, I've transferred to SDSU as an English major and will head into the teaching program as soon as I've completed my bachelor's degree.
Ashley Soto - Student Ambassador
Hi, my name is Ashley Soto and I am a Student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I started my high school career in Tehachapi, a small town in central California, and then transferred to Granite Hills High School during my junior year. I graduated in 2010 and I have always been involved with sports and clubs, like tennis and color guard. Moving schools opened a new perspective in my life and I decided that my best avenue to go to college would be through Cuyamaca College. Attending college here gave me the essential skills I needed to transfer to San Diego State University. I am currently majoring in Painting and Print-Making at SDSU and have already used my training from Cuyamaca to help me win painting awards and prestige at my new University. I have also participated in not-for-profit activities encouraging students to paint their feelings on the subject of human trafficking which became the centerpiece of a campus wide effort to raise awareness. I love my time at SDSU and am looking forward to graduating with my B.A. in 2015.
Hello, my name is Paloma Herbert and I am a student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I graduated from Steele Canyon High School in 2010. I did not attend college right after high school because I decided to go to beauty school instead. Once I received my license, I started working in the “real world” and in various salon settings, from low-end to high-end. While working as an assistant in Downtown, San Diego, my mentor taught me many aspects of the business side of the industry. Experiencing that side of the industry made me realize my passion for business; therefore, I was no longer fulfilled by working behind the chair. The reason why I decided to go back to college is because having a degree in business management can open more doors for me. My dream job is to work for Redken, a highly respected company in the beauty industry. Working for this company would allow me to do more traveling; there are so many places to see and interesting people to meet along the way. I chose Cuyamaca College because the campus is absolutely beautiful! The faculty and staff are very kind; they really care about the students' needs and want to help students reach their goals. My mother attended Cuyamaca College as well and it's really neat that I have the opportunity to share my experience with her.
Hello! My name is Eric Frankfurth and I am a student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I graduated from Monte Vista High School in 2012 and discovered Cuyamaca College while looking into community colleges in my area. I fell in love with the beautiful landscape, involved staff, and my attendance turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life, thus far. I plan on transferring to San Diego State University in the fall of 2015, which has been my dream. I run in my spare time and I was surprised to find out that Cuyamaca College has an amazing Athletics department, who are very helpful and supportive of all athletes.
Hello, my name is Apollo Ahmaki and I am a student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. Education, in the past, was not a significant factor in my life while growing up. I graduated from El Cajon Valley High School in 2012 with no palpable plans for the next chapter in my life. My choices consisted of either moving back to Kurdistan to work with my father and live a comfortable, but boring life, or continue my education at Cuyamaca College. Fortunately, I chose Cuyamaca, and making that decision greatly impacted my life in a positive way. I joined the Associated Student Government in the spring of 2014, which has been very exciting. I have been at Cuyamaca for two and a half years now and during this time, I have delved into my studies to discover what I truly want to do with my life. I plan to transfer to UCLA in the fall of 2016 to study neurology and theatre, and to eventually obtain a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
My name is Jocelyn Estrada, I am a student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I attended Mount Miguel High School and graduated in 2012. I started my college career at Cuyamaca College in August 2012. At Cuyamaca, I plan to earn my associate degree in business administration and then plan to transfer to San Diego State University in fall 2015, to pursue a bachelor's degree in business. Cuyamaca College was the ideal place to begin my college career due to the small community, supportive staff to keep me motivated, and the great atmosphere that the campus provided. On campus, I am involved in the Associated Student Government and the LGBT Club.
Hi everyone! My name is Jonathan Tala and I am a Cuyamaca College student Ambassador. I graduated from Monte Vista High School In 2012. I am a health science major and will transfer to UCSD in the fall of 2015. Coming fresh out of high school, I was undecided on a field of study, but while completing my general education here at Cuyamaca, I have been given the opportunity to learn more about myself as a person. I came to find out that the number one thing in life that makes me happiest is helping others. I decided that I want to study medicine and become a United States naval surgeon. My goal is a long and strenuous one, but as long as there is opportunity for me to help others along the way, it'll make the journey that much more rewarding.
Hi, my name is Elsa Hernandez and I am a Student Ambassador for Cuyamaca College. I graduated from Southwest High School in El Centro, California. I chose to attend Cuyamaca College because it was down the street from my uncle's house and it allowed me to make a smooth and affordable transition to college and the reality after high school. I was very excited to attend Cuyamaca and immediately wanted to get involved. Within my first year, I became an emerging leader for Cuyamaca's Associated Student Government, where I then became the Student Trustee for the 2013-2014 school year. I continue to stay involved as the Student Government President and now, as a Student Ambassador. I am majoring in international business and will transfer to San Diego State University in the fall of 2015 to obtain my bachelor's degree. I strive to develop a career within the Peace Corps before settling down in Brisbane, Australia.