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 children, and spends her free time reading, going to the beach, and playing with her kids.
Survivor Wellness Coordinator
Make an appointment: calendly.com/itobias
Irene (they/she/elle) is a queer, non-binary, Latinx professional who graduated from California State University San Bernardino with B.A. in Sociology and a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. As an undergraduate student, Irene worked at the Women's Resource Center, volunteered with Survivor Advocacy Services, and found their passion for supporting survivors. In 2018, Irene started their career at the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center as a Prevention Specialist providing violence prevention education and survivor advocacy to Riverside County. After two years, Irene joined House of Ruth as a Prevention Educator to best support survivors of intimate partner violence in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Irene discovered their passion for developing survivor-centered healing programs during their time as a Campus Advocate at Cal Poly and is excited to be back to bring these programs to life. Irene has primarily worked with young people, the Latinx community, and the LBGTQ+ community. When Irene isn’t at work, they enjoy watching reality tv, sunset at the beach, and live music.
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 first-generation transfer student, she got involved quickly with social justice organizations, including Safer, Triota Feminist Club, URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity, and Sprinkle: an undergraduate journal on feminist and queer studies. After graduating, she worked at Lumina Alliance (formerly 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 currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health, specializing in Health Communication for Social Change through the CUNY School of Public Health. 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. Learn more about getting involved as a student here.