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!

Profile ImageKara Samaniego

Assistant Director of Wellbeing

Pronouns: She/Her(s)
E-mail: kasamani@calpoly.edu
Phone: 805-756-2221

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.

Crisis Support & Advocacy
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Gillian Cutshaw

Campus Advocate

Pronouns: She/Her(s)
E-mail: gcutshaw@calpoly.edu
Phone: 805-756-6081

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 for over a decade and 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 children, and spends her free time reading, going to the beach, and playing with her kids.

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Claire Lopez

Campus Advocate

Pronouns: She/Her(s)
E-mail: clope105@calpoly.edu
Phone: 805-756-1321

Claire is a graduate of Cal Poly where she studied History and Comparative Ethnic Studies. As a transfer student, she found her community within advocacy and cultural groups, where she advocated for more funding for student services such as counseling and Safer. In 2022, Claire shifted to Lumina Alliance where she started as a Bilingual Legal Advocate, supporting survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence navigating the legal system. After a year, she transitioned to the role of the Volunteer Training Coordinator where she coordinated and facilitated the 65-hour state certification course for crisis counselors. Claire is stoked to join the Safer team as an advocate as she is passionate about supporting folks in finding their voice and supporting their path of healing. In her free time, she enjoys going to Spooners Cove with her husband and dog and trying new restaurants.

 

Prevention Education & Outreach
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Jennifer MacMartin

Prevention Specialist for Gender-Based Violence Initiatives

Pronouns: She/Her(s)
E-mail: jmacmart@calpoly.edu
Phone: 805-756-1301

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 completed 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.

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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.

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