Washington Center

UCDC Staff

Departments at UCDC:

UCDC Leadership and Directors

Academic and Internship Services

Student Services

Alumni Affairs

Promotions and Recruitment

Building Services

Business Services

IT Services

 

UCDC Leadership and Directors

Jennifer Diascro 

(She, Her, Hers) 

Interim Executive Director

Jennifer Diascro is the Interim Executive Director of the University of California’s Washington Program and a political scientist. She has been at UCDC since 2015 as an Associate Director and professor. She manages both the academic curriculum and academic internship teams. Dr. Diascro earned her BA in political science from the University of California, San Diego (1990) and her PhD in political science from The Ohio State University (1995). She was on the faculty at the University of Kentucky (1995-2002) and American University (2002-2010). In 2000-01, she was a Supreme Court Fellow at the US Sentencing Commission in Washington, DC. Before coming to UCDC, Diascro was a senior director at the American Political Science Association (2011-2015). She's authored or coauthored peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, on topics related to American judicial politics, and was a CO-PI on an NSF award for a workshop on success and failure in the academy. 

Marc Sandalow 

(He, Him, His) 

Associate Director

Marc Sandalow has been an Associate Director at UCDC since 2011. He teaches the Media and Washington Focus seminars, and oversees the center’s Monday night forums. He was previously UC Merced’s Washington director. Marc spent 21 years at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he served as Washington Bureau Chief, covered city halls in Martinez, Berkeley, and San Francisco, earthquakes, World Series (including an earthquake at a World Series), the impeachment of a president, a contested presidential election, and the 2001 terrorist attacks. He is the author of "Madam Speaker; Nancy Pelosi's Life, Times and Rise to Power,'' and co-author of "Ballparks: A Panoramic History.'' He can be heard daily on KCBS-radio in San Francisco and appears regularly as a political analyst on Hearst television stations. 

Heavenly Clegg 

(She, Her, Hers)

Assistant Director, Administration
Heavenly was born in South Central Los Angeles and later moved to the Inland Empire where she attended high school. While attending UC Riverside, she started working for the University of California. After 19 years at UC Riverside, she moved to UC Davis to continue her career in administration. Heavenly has two sons and two rescue dogs. She can be found most days walking dogs, riding horses, and listening to Matchbox20.

Academic and Internship Services

Alfreda Brock 

(She, Her, Hers) 

Senior Program Administrator, Academic Internship Team (AIT)

Alfreda Brock currently resides in Washington, DC after spending 17 years in Los Angeles, CA. She serves as a Senior Program Administrator for the University of California’s Academic Internship Program in Washington, DC (UCDC).   She has worked in various student affairs positions at the University of California for the past 20 years, and in higher education for the past 30 years. 

Alfreda participated in the USC Washington Program during graduate school where she interned for former Congresswoman Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (CA-2).  She fully understands the importance of experiential learning programs for students.  

Alfreda received her BS in Management and a Master’s in Management & Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Alfreda enjoys, reading, politics, and spending time with family and friends. 

Chantal Quintero  

(She, Her, Hers) 

Senior Program Administrator, Academic Internship Team (AIT)

Chantal Quintero serves as Senior Program Administrator with the University of California, Washington Program (UCDC) helping UC students navigate the internship search process.  She works closely with participants in identifying internship organizations that closely align with short and long-term career goals, and cultivates strong working relationships with a host of employers.  She is a strong advocate for students wanting no less than for every participant to be successful during their experience in DC, gain valuable professional skills and access key services and growth opportunities.  She also enjoys being able to connect participants with UCDC alumni who can offer advice and mentorship.  Chantal also serves as the lead in managing the UCDC Summer Academic Program - an initiative open to students (selected by their campus to participate in summer) wishing to earn units for their internship experience and make progress on their studies.  Chantal has been with UCDC since 2004.  She previously held Development and Alumni Relations roles at UC Irvine and The George Washington University.    

Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Chantal is bilingual -- fluent in French and holds a B.A. degree in Psychology and Public Management/ Public Policy from the University of Ottawa.  She is an avid cinephile, live music enthusiast and passionate about photography.    

Marlee Jacobs  

(She, Her, Hers) 

Program Specialist, Academic Internship Team (AIT)

Marlee was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and attended the University of California, Irvine where she majored in history. Participating in UCDC in Spring 2017 and interning at the Supreme Court of the US, Marlee is excited to be living and working in DC again. She enjoys spending her free time reading, listening to music, and hanging out with her friends and family.

Sabrin Said  

(She, Her, Hers) 

Administrator of Academic Services 

Sabrin Said currently serves as the Administrator of Academic Services at UCDC, supporting the curricular side of the academic program. She assists students and instructors as they navigate courses, enrollment, grades, and everything in between.  She is a California native and a proud product of its public education system.  As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Sabrin discovered her passion for education.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies she became the director of an educational access project that worked to ensure that the underrepresented populations of Los Angeles had access to institutions of higher education.  Sabrin later returned UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies for her master’s in Social Science and Comparative Education.  After completing her degree, she spent the following three years in the classroom at a small start-up high school in the Bay Area.  She now lives and enjoys everything that the DMV has to offer.

Student Services

Debbie Deas  

(She, Her, Hers)

Director, Student Services

Debbie is a southern native from the Palmetto State. She earned her BA in Government and Sociology from Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC before moving to Bloomington, IN to get her MS in Education at Indiana University. Debbie has worked in the UC system (UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego) for almost nine years and had the privilege of participating in an unforgettable trip around the world with Semester at Sea.

Even though Howie – her 8-pound Chihuahua – is already giving her side-eye about winter, Debbie is excited to be back home on the east coast!

Hannah Cook

(She, Her, Hers)

Assistant Director, Student Services

Hannah, originally from Kansas, has heard just about every Wizard of Oz joke imaginable. She graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Relational Communication Studies, Conflict Analysis, and Trauma Studies before moving to the mountains of North Carolina to attend graduate school. At Appalachian State University, Hannah earned her MA in Student Affairs Administration and enjoyed spending her weekends hiking and chasing waterfalls in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Prior to her time with UCDC, Hannah spent two years working at the Rochester Institute of Technology in NY. She is now enjoying everything that DC has to offer and can frequently be found at the Kennedy Center, National Zoo, or cuddled up at home with her cat, Moxie.

Alejandro Garcia

(He, Him, His)

Coordinator of Student Development

Alejandro was born in raised in Watsonville, CA in the beautiful Monterey Bay. He attended Cabrillo College before transferring to UC Santa Barbara and earning his BA in Sociology in 2019. He participated in the UCDC program in the fall of 2018 and interned just a couple doors down at the Human Rights Campaign. Alejandro returned to DC in January of 2022 as a Coordinator of Student Development and is grateful for the connections he has made with students. He enjoys jogging around DC, exploring new coffee shops and bookstores, and finding new places to watch the sunset.

Brianna Gorham

(She, Her, Hers)

Coordinator of Student Development

Bri is from a small, but rapidly growing city, in Southern California called Wildomar, near Temecula. She is a UCDC and UCLA Alum (Fall 2019 and Class of 2021 respectively), so being back in the Washington Center and DC is very special to her. At UCLA, Bri majored in Political Science, concentrating in Political Theory, and minored in European Studies. In the future, she plans to earn a Master's at the London School of Economics. In her spare time, Bri loves to travel (she is almost halfway to her goal of 30 countries before she turns 30), try new coffee shops, spend time outside, read, and attend baseball games (go Nats and Padres)!

Fabiola Lawson  

(She, Her, Hers)

Coordinator of Student Development

Fabiola was born in Lomé, Togo. From Elementary school through college, she alternated between Santa Rosa, CA, and Lomé. She later transferred to UC San Diego where she earned her BA in International Studies and discovered her interest in communications. As a UCSD student, she studied abroad in Accra, Ghana (UCEAP) and interned with the Wilson Center, Africa Program as a remote UCDC student in fall 2020. After graduating, she moved to Togo for 1.5 years where she interned with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Togo and worked as the Marketing Manager of L’Atelier by Venavio, an event planning company. Fabiola is excited to finally be at UCDC in person. She can’t wait to visit all the historical sites, museums, and travel around the east coast.

Alumni Affairs and Special Events 

Stephanie Perera 

(She, Her, Hers) 

Coordinator of Special Events & Alumni Outreach

Stephanie Perera serves as the Coordinator for Special Events and Alumni Outreach. Stephanie most recently worked as legislative correspondent/legislative aide for Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. During the 2016 elections, she served as Congressman Scott Peters’ field organizer for AAPI Outreach. As a UCDC student and Matsui fellow, Stephanie interned for the House Democratic Caucus. She is from Napa, CA, and a graduate of UC San Diego. A self-described NorCal girl, Stephanie enjoys watching Bay Area sports (Go Warriors!!), traveling, and being managed by her cat, Arya.

Promotions and Recruitment

Michael Nieto 

(He, Him, His)

 

Director, Promotions and Recruitment

Mike was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and spent nearly a decade living in Chico, CA attending, and then working at CSU, Chico before moving to Washington, DC in 2011. Mike currently serves as the Director of Promotions and Recruitment; managing all of the UCDC communications, promotional items, social media, and working with the campuses to recruit the best and brightest students for the program.

Prior to joining UCDC, he worked as a Study Abroad Advisor at his alma mater, CSU, Chico, as East Coast University Relations Coordinator for the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), and as the Head of Global Partnerships with The Intern Group. He enjoys spending his free time cooking, traveling, listening to music, watching baseball games (Go SF Giants and Washington Nationals!!!) and enjoying time with his nephew, sister, family, and friends.   

Building Services

Mac Hamlett

(He, Him, His)

Manager, Building and Housing Services

Mac Hamlett serves as the Manager of Building and Housing Services.  In this capacity, he oversees the Parking, Events, Residential Services, Information & Technology, and Facilities of UCDC.  Mac has been with UCDC for more than 19 years.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Randolph-Macon College.  In his spare time, Mac operates as a role player and surveillance role player for multiple private contractors providing training support for clients.

Alverta Scott  

(She, Her, Hers) 

Coordinator, Auxiliary Services
Alverta was born and raised in the DMV. As a kid she always wanted to be a nurse in the Navy. That soon changed after a few visits to the doctor, getting a needle stick (from the nurse) and for one reason or another. 
 
Alverta has been with UCDC for 29 years, holding several positions. She is currently the Coordinator of Auxiliary Services, which she enjoys, but the one she misses the most is her former role as the Student Activity Coordinator, where she interacted daily with the students. Before joining UCDC, she worked for Peoples Drug Stores (now CVS) in the advertising department.
 
Some of the things she enjoys doing in her free time are eating crabs, having large back yard parties, watching old westerns, watching her son play video games (so she can learn how), and reading any James Patterson Alex book. 
 
Growing up with 5 brothers and one TV, her favorite sports became football, basketball, and baseball, always cheering for the home teams: Commanders (Redskins), Wizards and Nationals! She still has hope that one if not all the teams will bring another championship to DC!
 

Business Services

Mary Byrne  

(She, Her, Hers) 

Senior Budget Analyst

 

Melissa Kasimatis

(She, Her, Hers) 

Budget Analyst

Melissa was born in Sacramento, California, and raised in Davis, California. She lived there for 35 years, and then moved to Maryland to be closer to family. Before joining UCDC as a Finance Analyst, most of her professional career was in the veterinary field where she worked as a Veterinary Technician helping our furry friends. Most recently her career has shifted to the accounting and finance field where Melissa can pursue her passion for numbers. With her next car she hopes to have 11235 on the license plate, which is the first five numbers of Fibonacci Sequence. In her free time, she enjoys hand quilting and other crafts, as well as watching movies, gardening, babysitting her indoor plants, baseball, spending time with her two grown daughters, and her not so nice 6 year old Chihuahua mix, Bella. Grrrr…

IT Services 

Michael Sesay

(He, Him, His)

Chief Technology Officer

 

Dale Cobb

(He, Him, His)

Network Engineer

 

Michael Walker

(He, Him, His)

Systems Administrator

 

Steven Young

(He, Him, His)

Network Services Administrator