Fall 2020 Native Nest Staff Meet via Zoom
Fall 2020 Native Nest Staff meet via Zoom.



Michelle Villegas-Frazier

Michelle Villegas-Frazier

  • Director | Pomo, Pinoleville
  • Strategic Native American Retention Initiatives/Student Affairs
Fall quarter availability and appointments: All meetings will be virtual. Please email to set up a virtual appointment.

Michelle Villegas-Frazier, who previously worked for a decade in outreach programs on campus, returned to become the first director of Strategic Native American Retention Initiative in Student Affairs. She brings with her more than 20 years of experience in Native American outreach and retention services and programs.

Michelle will provide strategic leadership to identify opportunities for enhancing the persistence, achievement and graduation rates for Native American students. She will lead efforts to develop partnerships across the university and develop and implement a plan to serve students from orientation through graduation.

Lynn, ICC advisor

Lynn Fowler

  • Senior Career Advisor
  • Internship and Career Center
Fall quarter availability and appointments: All meetings will be virtual. Please email to set up a virtual appointment.

Lynn grew up with the Osage Nation in Oklahoma and is a proud alumnae of UC Davis.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and attended Bowling Green State University in Ohio, where she received a Master of Arts in College Student Personnel, with an emphasis in counseling.   She has over 15 years of experience at UCD in advising and administration in experiential education programs. Lynn hopes to use her knowledge of campus and the community resources to help support students in their career development process.  She especially enjoys connecting students and employers, the process of career exploration including clarifying strengths, and developing the tools to gain employment such resume and CV writing, interviewing, and networking. In her spare time she is passionate about mindfulness, yoga, and lifelong learning. 

Preferred pronouns: she/her/hers

Staff Member Kelsey

Kelsey Hunkins

  • Temporary Administrative Assistant

My name is Kelsey Hunkins and I have the pleasure of serving the Native Nest during the Fall 2020 quarter. I started at UC Davis in early 2020 as a Financial Assistant to Student Housing and Dining Services. Since then, I have had the opportunity to assist the Retention Initiatives at UC Davis on a temporary basis. I am proud to play a part in the important goal of connecting students in under-served communities to the services and resources they need to succeed. In my spare time I enjoy writing, and playing and designing video games. 

Ariel, Writing Specialist

Ariel Loring

  • Writing Specialist
  • Writing Support Center in the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers (AATC)
Fall quarter availability and appointments: Writing support from the AATC will be completely online for Spring Quarter. Sign up for 30 minute one-on-one appointments on Zoom. You can book between 3-72 hours in advance: https://tutoring.ucdavis.edu/writing

Ariel started at UC Davis as a graduate student in 2008.  After earning her M.A. and PhD in linguistics, she started working as a writing specialist in the AATC.  As someone who didn’t particularly enjoy college writing or feel confident in it, she has since published multiple academic articles.  She is eager to help other writers feel confident and competent with their writing.

Ariel has been offering drop-in writing support in the Native Nest since 2017, and also facilitates a student book group that meets once a quarter: https://aggielife.ucdavis.edu/organization/bookgroup

Writing support from the AATC will be completely online for Spring Quarter. 

Get help at any stage of the writing process:

  • Understanding the prompt and generating ideas
  • Developing, connecting and organizing ideas/arguments  
  • Identifying grammar error patterns and learning the rules to remedy them
  • Learning how to edit sentences to make them more concise

Session details/policies:

  • Sign up for 30 minute one-on-one appointments on Zoom
  • You can book between 3-72 hours in advancehttps://tutoring.ucdavis.edu/writing
  • If you select the drop-down menu, you can choose to work with Ariel Loring, the Writing Specialist who normally holds drop-in hours in the Native Nest.
  • Because our Writing Studio and other drop-in locations are currently closed, you can book an appointment for any type of writing (coursework, scholarship letters, personal statements, etc.) 
  • If you need grammar support, please also visit the Aggie Grammar Guide: https://tutoring.ucdavis.edu/agg
Photo of CAN Counselor Tracy Thomas

Tracy Thomas, LMFT

  • Community Counselor
  • UC Davis Student Health and Counseling Services (position housed at NAASSC)
Fall quarter availability and appointments: All meetings will be virtual. Please email to set up a virtual appointment.

Tracy Thomas is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) working as a Community Counselor for Student Health and Counseling Services.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from University of California at Los Angeles and her Master of Arts Degree from Brandman University. 

Through her work in private practice and through non-profit community health centers throughout the Sacramento area, she has compassionately provided mental health care services to culturally and socio-economically diverse populations from marginalized, underrepresented, and underserved communities, including Native American and Indigenous populations. Tracy has specialized interest, training, and experience in treating symptoms of PTSD and trauma, including intergenerational trauma experienced by many oppressed people. She received EMDR training and consultation from an EMDRIA-approved school and uses EMDR as a primary tool to help clients heal from traumatic experiences. Additionally, through her work experience in a partial hospitalization program, she has specialized training in treating eating disorders and other co-occurring mental illnesses using ACT and DBT therapies. Her primary theoretical orientation is Humanistic.

Tracy’s personal philosophy in counseling is rooted in the belief that regardless of the complex emotional challenges that one might be facing, each person can experience emotional freedom and reach his or her maximum potential in life. This can be achieved through access to an empathic, culturally competent counselor who assists the client to reprocess traumatic events, to learn and practice mindfulness, make a commitment to acceptance of each experience, and to align thoughts and behaviors with his, her, or their core values to achieve their desired outcomes. Tracy enjoys helping students embrace their intersecting identities into a healthy, holistic, and integrated sense of self.  Tracy’s celebrates her multicultural ethnicity, including honoring and giving back to her Choctaw identity.  

Managing Fears and Anxiety Around Coronavirus

Student Assistants

Photo of Student assistant Dani.

Dani C.

  • Student Assistant, 2020-21
  • Chiricahua Apache

My name is Dani Contreras and I am a transfer student from Southern California. I am currently a senior Chemistry Major (American Chemical Society certification track) as well as the External Co-President of Native American Student Union (NASU) and the Treasurer for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). My great-grandpa was full-blooded Chiricahua Apache but I also have strong Mexican and Spanish heritage. Outside of schoolwork and clubs, I like to draw, paint, play musical instruments, listen to music, and play video games.

Check out Dani's feature in Aggie Voices.


Sheridan F.

  • Student Assistant, 2020-21
  • Pit River and Wintu

My name is Sheridan Foster. I am from Redding, CA. I am Pit River and Wintu. I am a second year at UC Davis. I am studying Psychology with a Biology emphasis as well as minor in Studio Art. After receiving my degree I plan on doing research in art therapy.

Photo of student assistant Danielle in blue shirt.

Danielle G.

  • Student Assistant, 2020-21
  • Diné (Navajo) and Mexican heritage

Yá'át'ééh, shí éí Danielle yinishyé.
Hello, my name is Danielle Rospide-Sandoval (Giagnoli). I am Diné of the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and of Mexican heritage from Zacatecas, Mexico. I am a first year transfer student at UC Davis where I am majoring in Native American Studies and Indigenous Rights, and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. I am also working towards a teaching credential where I’ll be an Elementary school teacher on the Navajo Reservation. I have a passion for knowledge and education, and teaching the next generation of Native Scholars. Together, We Will Rise Up.

Marialuisa K.

  • Student Assistant 2020-21
  • Cherokee, Xicana, Mvskoke

Osiyo, Marialuisa dawadoa 

My name is Marialuisa, I am Cherokee, Xicana, and Mvskoke (Creek). I currently live in the Sacramento area. My major is Native American Studies. I am passionate about serving Native and Indigenous communities because I believe that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to achieve their educational goals. I hope to continue my passion of advocating for Native scholars and work within institutions to bridge the gaps of inequity.

Yusuph L.

  • Student Assistant 2020-21

My name is Yusuph Lawal and I am from Los Angeles California. Currently, I am a senior majoring in Biological Psychology. I intend to join the field of public health when I am done with college. In my spare time I like cycling, traveling, and spending quality time with my friends. I have a passion of learning different cultures and experiences and I intend to gladly serve the Native community.

Intern Deserea Langley

Deserea Langley

  • Intern
  • Northern Paiute, Western Shoshone

Deserea Langley is a PhD. Candidate in Native American Studies at the University of California, Davis. She is Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone enrolled in the Susanville Indian Rancheria. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Science from California State University, Sacramento in 2014. Her research explores the impact of Dawes Allotment on members of the Susanville Indian Rancheria Tribal members in Northeastern California. She is focused on discussing the importance of land in relation to spatial knowledge of place and identity. She also seeks to explore how the Susanville Indian Rancheria is using tribal sovereignty to assert their claim to land in northeastern California for economic development and cultural revitalization. She is currently the chair of the Native American and Indigenous Advisory Committee to the Chancellor, and Graduate Student Director of the Student Resource and Retention Center at UC Davis.      

Student assistant Annika in blue shirt

Annika S.

  • Student Assistant, 2020-21

My name is Annika Shije and I am from Santo Domingo Pueblo and Santa Clara Pueblo. Currently, I am a first year majoring in Biological Systems Engineering. I hope to give back to my native community by pursuing water studies to research ways to purify large masses of water at once. I am also Aztec and Mexican on my mother’s side, and practice those beliefs in Los Angeles through dance. Since my background is very diverse I know how to perform an array of dances from traditional dances to fancy shawl, Danza Azteca, and even some salsa and Bachata. Here’s the catch though, I am terrible at dancing, I just enjoy doing it very much.

Student assistant V'Santi

V'Santi T.

  • Student Assistant, 2020-21
  • Mashpee Wampanoag and Tieno Indian

My name is V'Santi Tobey and I'm a 2nd year Theater/ Dance and Studio art Double Major. I was born in Cape Cod Massachusetts but I've lived in LA since the age of 10. I'm from the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and I'm also Tieno Indian.  Not only am I Native American but I'm also Puerto Rican and Cape Verdean and very proud of my heritage. In my free time I enjoy drawing, painting, dancing, beeding, and all things art related.

Learn more about NAASSC student assistant V'Santi.