Meet our Team

The Palomar College Foster Youth Staff at a Holiday Event

Steven Salter, Director: EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/FYRST

My name is Steve and I am the Director of EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs and FYRST. I earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. I have worked in EOPS since 2018 and prior to that, worked in Post-Secondary Disability Support Services for approximately 12 years. I love to cook, travel and run to stay healthy. I love working in EOPS, because I have an opportunity to remove barriers for students as they continue on their educational journeys.

Dr. Christina Dawber, Chair: EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/FYRST

My name is Christina and I am the full-time CalWORKs Counselor and Chair of EOPS/CARE/CalWORKs/FYRST. I have been serving CalWORKs and EOPS students for over a decade and love my job. As a single mother and a former first-generation college student, I feely deeply connected to the student parents and first gen students I guide, support, and root for. Like many of you, I started my higher education at Palomar College. From there, I went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley, a Master of Arts in Multi-Cultural Counseling from SDSU, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Social Justice from UCSD. My doctoral research explored self-compassion in BIPOC CalWORKs single mother students. When I’m not working, I enjoy backpacking around the world with my ten year-old son. Hablo Español.


Trong Nguyen, Counselor: EOPS

My name is Trong and I am a full-time EOPS Counselor. I received my Master’s degree in Counseling from University of San Diego, and I have been working in the EOPS program since 1995. I love to travel for food, learning different languages and cultures around the world. I enjoy working in EOPS because I have an opportunity to make a difference in the students’ growth, transformation, and success.

Veronica Aguilera, Counselor: EOPS/CARE

My name is Veronica and I am a full-time EOPS and CARE Counselor. I have worked in the EOPS program at Palomar College for 15 years. I received my Master’s degree in Counseling, with an emphasis in Student Development in Higher Education, from California State University and received a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from University of California, Irvine. I have assisted students with academic, career and personal counseling and have facilitated various student support and healing circles for Palomar College’s CARE and CalWORKs students. In addition to my counselor role, I have taught a variety of Counseling courses at Palomar College. My hobbies include painting and reading. One of my favorite things about my work at Palomar College is connecting with students, listening to their stories and personal journeys.  Hablo Español.


Luz Fernandez, Counselor: EOPS

My name is Luz and I am a part-time EOPS Counselor.  I hold a Master of Science in Social Work. I have worked in EOPS since 2018 and prior to that, worked as an associate clinical social worker treating children through young adults. I am passionate about working with special populations and empowering students to achieve their academic and personal goals. I enjoy long walks, learning, volunteering, and quality time with my family. Hablo Español.

Leslie Aguilar, Counselor: EOPS/FYRST

My name is Leslie and I am a part-time EOPS and FYRST Counselor. I am a former first-generation college student who attended community college and eventually received my M.A. in Education Counseling from San Diego State University. During my free time, I enjoy painting, writing, and creating. As a former EOPS student, I dreamed of one day coming back and helping a new generation of students, walking a similar path as my own, obtain their educational goals. Hablo Español

Elizabeth Salinas, Counselor: EOPS/CalWORKs

My name is Elizabeth and I am a part-time EOPS and CalWORKs Counselor.I earned my Master’s degree in Education with an emphasis in Multicultural Counseling from San Diego State University. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development from Cal State San Marcos. I’ve been working in the EOPS Program at Palomar College since 2016. Some of my hobbies are watching documentaries, going on walks, and cooking vegan recipes. What I find most rewarding about working in EOPS is seeing the transformation our students go through and being part of their educational journey at Palomar College. Hablo Español.

Jaymie Gonzaga, Counselor: EOPS

My name is Jaymie and I am a part-time EOPS Counselor. I have been working in EOPS since 2000 (Palomar, 2004). I am retired military (USMC) and received my Associate degree in Liberal Arts from San Diego Miramar College. Transferred to San Diego State University and earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. I received my Master of Arts degree in Counseling from the University of San Diego. I enjoy travelling and keeping fit. I am an avid collector of the Nissan 200sx (1984-1988) and enjoy restoring them for car shows and road trips. As a former EOPS student, EOPS Peer Advisor and now EOPS Counselor, I have always loved working with this extreme diverse population of students. As a former foster youth, I am fully aware of the challenges and obstacles that EOPS student’s face. I am most proud when I see EOPS students overcome their challenges and see the end-result……graduation!

Mercedes Tiggs, Counselor: EOPS/FYRST

My name is Mercedes and I am a part-time EOPS and FYRST Counselor. I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and serve as part-time Counseling Faculty with the CalWORKs Program at San Diego City College. I have a B.S. in Criminal Justice from San Diego State and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Organizing, Planning, and Administration from the University of Southern California. I enjoy participating in social justice activities, cooking, trying new recipes, traveling, watching documentaries, community service, listening to music, spending time with family and friends, reading, and playing fetch at the dog park with my labradoodle.

Charles Alexander, Counselor: EOPS

Andrew Anderson, Counselor: EOPS

Elias Purmul, Counselor: EOPS


Griselda Ramirez, Administrative Specialist: CalWORKs

My name is Griselda and I am the CalWORKs Administrative Specialist. I have been working in EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs programs since 2008. I enjoy hiking, biking, traveling and spending time with family. One thing that I truly enjoy working in EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs is to be a part of our students’ growth and academic success. Hablo Español.

Sandra Brown, Administrative Specialist

My name is Sandra and I am an EOPS Administrative Specialist. I received an AA in General Studies at Palomar College. I was a CalWORKs student worker, EOPS hourly, and in 2004, I became a full-time EOPS employee at Palomar College. I enjoy painting pictures, sewing, and gardening. Working in the EOPS Department provides me the opportunity to give back by assisting students with needed services on behalf of the EOPS Department. Hablo Español.

Angela Stanley, Counseling Support Specialist

My name is Angela and I am a Student Support Specialist II. I have been with the EOPS program at Palomar College since January of 2000. I love anything Disney, traveling and my Grandsons. I love being a part of the EOPS team and supporting students along their educational journey. Hablo Español.


Elizabeth Lopez Diaz, Foster Youth Liaison & Financial Aid Advisor