All of our professional full-time staff members are state-certified confidential crisis advocates for sexual assault and domestic violence. Please see below for program specialties and learn more about our team!
Assistant Director of Wellbeing
Make an appointment: calendly.com/ksamaniego
Kara is the Assistant Director of Wellbeing, which directs the Safer Program. She has worked with Safer since 2014 and is passionate about infusing trauma-informed & healing-centered practices everywhere she can. She has professional experience in the non-profit and private sectors with an emphasis on program development, capacity building and management. She received a BS in Psychology with a Minor in Women and Gender Studies and MBA from Cal Poly. She lives in SLO with her husband, two children and super-floofy cat. She loves cooking, anything childbirth-related and nature.
Make an appointment: calendly.com/gcutshaw
Gillian is a Cal Poly alum with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a master’s in Gender and Women’s Studies from Trinity College in Ireland. She has been involved in gender-based violence prevention and survivor support since 2004 when she started her career at Lumina Alliance (formerly known as RISE & Stand Strong) as the Education Services Coordinator. Prior to joining the Safer team, Gillian spent six years as the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Prevention, Outreach, and Education at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and one year at Santa Clara University as the Assistant Director of the Wellness Center. In both roles, she provided educational outreach, advocacy, and crisis counseling services to survivors of gender and power-based violence. Gillian started her dream job as a Campus Advocate with Safer in May of 2020 and is thrilled to be back at Cal Poly. She is a lifelong feminist and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and is passionate about using her privileged identities to advocate for marginalized communities. She is experienced in supporting students through Title IX investigations and hearings and is dedicated to providing all survivors with a safe and welcoming space where they can feel heard, validated, valued, and seen. Gillian lives in South County with her husband and 2 small children, and spends her free time reading, going to the beach, and playing with her kids.
Make an appointment: calendly.com/itobias
Irene is a queer, Latinx, feminist who graduated from California State University San Bernardino with B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2018. As an undergraduate student, Irene worked at the Women's Resource Center and volunteered with Survivor Advocacy Services. Irene has worked at two non-profit agencies that provide advocacy to survivors of sexual violence and intimate partner violence in Southern California. Irene is very passionate about social justice, survivor rights, supporting LGBTQ+ survivors, and creating accessible spaces for marginalized survivors. Irene believes in using intersectional approaches since sexual violence and intimate partner violence affect survivors differently. Irene enjoys reading, binge-watching Hulu, listening to music, cooking vegan food, and disrupting the patriarchy.
Make an appointment: calendly.com/mbunchon
Matilda graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation Biology/Applied Vertebrate Ecology with a minor in Psychology and will be starting her master’s in Higher Education Counseling in Student Affairs (HECSA) fall 2021 at Cal Poly. During her undergraduate program, Matilda partnered with Check It, a Sexual Violence Bystander Intervention Program to bring resources, support, and continued education to the first-year residential halls and cultural centers (MultiCultural Center and Asian Desi Pacific Islander Collective). Her position in the MultiCultural Center (MCC) opened opportunities for cross collaboration with the Women’s Resource Center and the Queer Resource Center where Matilda reaffirmed her passion for survivor centered support and social and gender equity. In 2018 she began her career at the Center for the Pacific Asian Family (CPAF), a nonprofit agency in Koreatown, Los Angeles that serves to address domestic violence and sexual assault in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Here Matilda began as an AmeriCorps Vista providing translation for Thai client survivors, outreach in universities, and volunteer/intern recruitment before becoming a full-time employee of CPAF as a youth prevention educator. She has primarily worked with the Asian and Pacific Islander community, youth (11-18 years old) in middle and high school, youth with English as a second language, and youth (18-25) in University Housing and Cultural Centers. Matilda enjoys swimming, reading, watching wildlife, and continuing her education and journey in antiracism and the nonviolence philosophy.
Prevention Specialist for Gender-Based Violence Initiatives
Make an appointment: calendly.com/jmacmart
Jennifer graduated from Cal Poly in 2017 with a Sociology degree and minor in Women's and Gender Studies. As a student, she worked for Safer, served on the board of a feminist club, and was the Assistant Editor for Sprinkle: a Feminist & Queer Theory Undergraduate Journal. After graduating, she worked at RISE facilitating the 80-hour state certification course for crisis counselors, and managed their 24-hour crisis hotline. She is grateful to be back at Cal Poly, cultivating a culture of anti-violence and empathy on campus so violence doesn't occur in the first place. She is also grateful to be the staff advisor to EROS, the Peer Sexual Health Team within the Peer Wellness Programs. In her free time, she loves gardening, hiking, and weaving.
Our student staff have always been the lifeline of our program - we were built by students, for students. Thank you endlessly to our 2020-2021 student staff, featured below! Learn more about getting involved as a student here.