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 has worked in the field of gender-based violence for ten years. 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, toddler and super-floofy cat (and is getting ready for motherhood round 2!). When she happens to get a quiet moment or some time to herself, she likes reading, cooking, Netflix binging and backpacking.
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 and started her career at RISE. Prior to joining the Safer team, Gillian worked at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga and at Santa Clara University where she provided educational outreach, advocacy, and crisis counseling services. She lives in South County with her family and spends her free time reading, going to the beach, and playing with her kids.
Make an appointment: calendly.com/skwilson
Sara graduated from Cal Poly in 2019 with her bachelor's degree in Sociology. During her time in college, she volunteered with different environmental and restorative justice non-profits around SLO County. Her passions lie in restorative justice, yoga therapy, and social justice- all of which led her into this field of work. Sara served as the AmeriCorps member at Safer in 2019 and transitioned to become a campus advocate in 2020. She loves supporting students and the amazing work Safer does. Other things she loves- her cat, friends and family, the outdoors, the color burgundy, and vegan food!
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, and in her free time loves gardening, hiking, and embroidering. Her role is dedicated to 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.
DOJ Grant Project Coordinator
Ashlee Hernandez is the Department of Justice Grant Project Coordinator for Safer and is a strong proponent for the health and wellbeing of women, children, and families. She joins us with 3 years of experience with a non-governmental organization where she advocated to provide educational opportunities, menstrual hygiene products, and medical relief to children and women in rural central Uganda. Additionally, she has spearheaded the Students with Dependents Initiative at Cal Poly that provides comprehensive resources to pregnant and parenting students. She received a BA in Sociology and is currently in the Masters in Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs program. In her spare time, you can find Ashlee at the local farmer's markets with her family or trail running on the Central Coast.
Our student staff have always been the lifeline of our program - we were built by students, for students. Thank you endlessly to our 2019-2020 student staff, featured below! Learn more about getting involved as a student here.
Events & Outreach Team
Astrid Herrera, Events & Outreach Lead
My name is Astrid Herrera, she/her(s), and I am and the Events and Outreach student lead for Cal Poly Safer. I initially joined Safer because I wanted to make a difference in a field that is often overlooked but very close to my heart and through this program I have found an amazing support system and an outlet for producing good work. I am looking forward to further engaging with Cal Poly's community in a meaningful way!
McKenzie Taffe, Events & Outreach Intern
I'm a second year Political Science major with a Pre-Law concentration. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, gardening, and surfing!
Marketing & Communications
Sujata Chowdhury, Marketing & Communications Lead
My name is Sujata Chowdhury (she/her/hers) from Anaheim Hills California and I am a fourth year Economics major concentrating in Quantitative Analysis. I got involved with Safer my sophomore year through Safer Leadership Training, and became the Marketing & Communications intern my junior year. Safer's dedication to making our campus a better place through action and education made me interested in working there. The people I have met and the knowledge I have gained at Safer has made my experience at Cal Poly even more worthwhile. In my free time I enjoy taking photographs, exploring new areas, and finding creative outlets.
Prevention Education Team
Sarandon Gilbert, Prevention Education Lead
My name is Sarandon (She/Her), I major in Political Science, double minoring in Ethnic Studies and Women's and Gender Studies. I am incredibly passionate about this work, and I believe through prevention education we can create a society that is more empathetic, loving and respectful! I am excited to continue working with Safer this year!
Claire McCord, Prevention Education Intern
Claire is a second year studying Sociology at Cal Poly. She loves camping, hiking, baking, and going to concerts.
Jack Radanovich, Prevention Education Intern
Jack Radanovich (he/him/his) is a second-year student at Cal Poly majoring in Sociology, and pursuing minors in both Spanish and Latin American Studies. Jack is also in the process of completing pre-medical studies, hoping to one day become a physician-sociologist who investigates the intersection of health, society, and justice. He currently lives in Martinez, California.