Students and Staff after the Black Arm Band at the Mondavi Center



Staff meeting January 7th 2022
2021-2022 Staff


Michelle Villegas-Frazier

Michelle Villegas-Frazier

  • Director | Pomo, Pinoleville
  • Strategic Native American Retention Initiatives/Student Affairs

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 implement a plan to serve students from orientation through graduation.

You can schedule an in-person or virtual meeting with Michelle via Calendly:


Associate Director

William Sampson

William Sampson

  • Associate Director | Oglala Lakota
  • Native American Academic Student Services Center

William (Will) Sampson is a first-generation college graduate who originally comes from Tulare, California (Yokuts lands). He graduated from UC Davis in 2019 with degrees in Native American Studies and History, and received his M.A. in History from the University of Washington in 2022. Will was amongst the first students to work in the Native Nest when it first opened in 2017, and is excited for the opportunity to work with and support the community that played a critical role in his growth as a Native person in higher education. He is committed to developing strategies for Native students to succeed academically and professionally during their time at UC Davis, as well as foster opportunities for Native student leadership. 


Nora's Photo

Nora Zade

  • Program Coordinator | Pomo, Concow, Yuki, Wailaki (Round Valley), Pawnee, Tsalagi

Nora Zade is a UC Davis Alumni, graduating in 2022 with degrees in Native American Studies and Psychology. During her time at UC Davis, she worked at the Native American Academic Student Success center as a student assistant, which further cultivated her passion for supporting Native students in educational settings. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Multicultural Education at Sacramento State University. Nora is dedicated to improving Native people’s access to higher education, as well as promoting equitable relationships between educational institutions and tribal communities.

Jean's Photo

Jean Forlee

  • Office Coordinator
  • Native American Academic Student Services Center

Jean Mako Forlee joined the NARI team in January of 2024 and is honored to be a part of the Native Nest supporting our Native and Indigenous students at UC Davis. She is a second-generation, LA-born and raised, Japanese-American. She graduated UC San Diego with a degree in Sociology, and studies in Theatre and Dance. Between then and her current role, Jean explored many of her interests including administration, vocational training, early childhood education, bodywork, and meditative movement.

Jean brings with her a holistically-informed approach to student success. Through utilizing her strengths in organization and passion for efficiency, she is dedicated to supporting the mission of the Native American Academic Student Success Center and the Native American Retention Initiative.

Ariel, Writing Specialist

Ariel Loring

  • Writing Specialist
  • Writing Support Center in the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Centers (AATC)
Office Hours:
AATC Writing Specialist Ariel Loring is holding hybrid drop-in writing support for Native Nest students every Tuesday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. You can choose to attend virtually on Zoom or in the Native Nest. The Zoom link is You can bring a prompt, a draft, a reading, or we can just have a conversation. If you are sharing some writing, please be prepared to share a Google Doc with editing permission enabled.

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:

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:

  • AATC Writing Specialist Ariel Loring is holding hybrid drop-in writing support for Native Nest students every Thursday from 3:00-4:00 p.m. You can choose to attend in-person in the Native Nest or virtually on Zoom. The Zoom link is If you’re doing any writing this quarter, either for your classes or if you’re applying for a scholarship or graduate school, I’d love to work with you. You don’t need to bring a finished draft to meet with me— I’m here to help support you at whatever stage you are at, even if you haven’t started writing yet. If you meet with me, I’ll ask what you want to go over and we’ll have a conversation about it. If I have feedback, I’ll phrase it as suggestions, but you are the writer and you make whatever choices you want based on that feedback.
  • If you need grammar support, please also visit the Aggie Grammar Guide:

Learn more about the services Ariel can provide: 

Devon portrait

Devon Seward Howland

  • Career Services Specialist
  • Internship and Career Center (ICC)
Office Hours:
Every Wednesday at The Native Nest - University from 12:00 - 1:00 pm. You can schedule an appointment with Devon Seward Howland at to connect.

Hello, I am Devon Seward Howland, the Career Services Specialist in the ICC (Internship and Career Center) focusing on Student Employment. I come to the ICC with a background of 10+ years in Human Resources where I was a college recruiter for firms like Boeing, INROADS and Bank of America where I visited many colleges and reached out to students about jobs and internships. I spent a great deal of time specifically seeking students of color on these campuses, including Native American students in particular.
I have worked even longer on the college side at several schools including UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, Chaminade and Gonzaga Universities as well. At these institutions I worked closely with students directly around career and internship services in general and specifically on how to engage with employers.
My passion is the help students find theirs. College is a great place to begin to better understand the world and career services is the best place to learn about the world of work. This also includes preparing for graduate study as well since more education opens up future opportunities on and off the college campus and we help students plan and prepare for both.
I am very enthusiastic about what I do and especially assisting first generation and students of color to navigate college and the career search process as I reference experiences that helped me find my own way. I like to find ways to relate to people and am pretty good at finding things I have in common with almost everyone.
Please feel free to contact me at or 530.752.4648 to set up a session to chat. I look forward to setting up workshops and other career events as well as sharing information about our upcoming ICC events. Please share your needs and I will do my best to assist you with them.
I will be spending regular time each week in the Native American Student Success Center and look forward to seeing you there!

Virtual Services at the Internship & Career Center:

*Subscribe to weekly newsletters on new internships, jobs, networking events, & more

*Register for workshops, employer info sessions, and career fairs

*Make Career Advising appointments with Career Advisors by phone or video

*Use Drop-in Peer Advising or Document Review to get started on your internship/job search, Handshake basics, and resume & cover letter review

Student Assistants

Stormi's Photo

Stormi Alejandre

  • Student Assistant, 2023-24
  • Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Oyate) and Acoma/Zuni Pueblo

My name is Stormi Alejandre. I am a 3rd year student majoring in Native American Studies. I was born and raised in the Bay Area (Oakland, California). I enjoy spending my time drawing, walking outside, with animals, playing soccer and videography. I also currently hold a leadership position with Catalyst College Ministry (one of the Christian fellowships on the UCD campus) managing their media/production. I don’t know what I want to do with my future, but I hope it includes my communities back home, animals, teaching and art.

Mia's Photo

Mia Baltierra

  • Student Assistant, 2023-24

My name is Mia Baltierra, I am a 4th year student majoring in Philosophy with an emphasis in Pre-Law and a minor in Religious Studies. I am Mexican-American and was born and raised in Southern California (Riverside). I enjoy learning about different religions, ways of thinking and expanding my own knowledge to better serve the community. In my free time I like to bake vegan goods, write poetry, do trivia and perform in the Rocky Horror club on campus.

Kaitlyn's Photo

Kaitlyn Deem

  • Student Assistant, 2023-24

I'm Kaitlyn Deem (she/her) and I am in my 3rd year as an undergraduate pursuing a degree in the field cognitive psychology. My dream is to conduct novel research on neurodiversity throughout child development for use in medical and academic institutions. Besides learning, my passions revolve around crafting, gardening, collecting rocks and exploring nature. I am particularly interested in wildlife conservation and enjoy participating in surveying excursions throughout California and Nevada. My favorite aspects about UC Davis and the Nest are the abundant opportunities available to meet new people and build community.

Vanessa's Photo

Vanessa Munguia

  • Student Assistant, 2023-24
  • Atsugewi (Pit River)

Hello, my name is Vanessa Munguia (she/her) and I am a 2nd-year Animal Biology major here at UC Davis. I am an enrolled Atsugewi band member of the Pit River Tribe from the northeastern corner of California. I am currently interested in attending UC Davis, School of Veterinary and pursuing a career involving animal research. Outside of academia, I love to listen to music live, hang out with friends and family, travel, bead, and drink boba!