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Healthy Cougar PAWS Peer Educators



John Edwards

Hello Cougars! My name is John and I am a 4th year psychology student. In addition to being a peer educator, I am the CSUSM psychology student organization president. When I’m not at school, I’m a licensed barber who leads an organization that uses haircuts as a tool for mentoring young men. Next fall I hope to start a graduate program focused on social work or multicultural counseling. This school year, I will be conducting research on the effects that a health-informed barber has on mental health stigmas amongst African American males.

In my free time I love spending time with my wife, playing video games and fellowshipping with my friends. I look forward to connecting with you all this year and sharing information that I know will make our campus and communities a healthier place.


Ekaterina Kirillova

My name is Ekaterina. I am a fourth-year psychology major. I am a peer educator with the Hope & Wellness Center. After graduating this Spring, I hope to start a PsyD program. On campus, I am also a biopsych SI leader and a research assistant.

Off-campus, I work as a behavior interventionist. In my free time, I like to crochet, hang out with my friends, and hang out with my cat.


Samantha Maldonado

Hi everyone! My name is Samantha. I am a U.S. Navy veteran and I graduated with a B.S. in Psychology. I am currently a post-bacc student at Cal State San Marcos. I'm excited to be involved with the campus and look forward to helping students and bring awareness to certain issues within our community. 

In my free time I like to spend time with my family, especially visiting the zoo. I also enjoy going on walks and soaking up the sun. 


Violet McGuire

Hi everyone! My name is Violet McGuire (she/her/hers), and I am a senior at CSUSM majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Children, Youth & Families. I am excited to be a peer educator and advocate for the many different resources we have on campus. I am very passionate about mental health and I hope to have a career where I can help others, hopefully within the field of mental health after I graduate.

In my free time you can find me hanging out with friends & family, going to the beach to watch the sunset, and finding new fun places and activities to do around San Diego. I am happy to be back on campus after being away and am so excited to meet fellow students as a peer educator!


Xandra Martinez

Hi y’all. My name is Xandra, and my pronouns are she/her. I am recent transfer student majoring in Kinesiology and minoring in Physical Education. Things on campus that I am involved in are TRIO SSS, the active minds club and an on-campus job.

What being a peer educator means to me is getting educated on all dimensions of health and wellness and spreading that information to create awareness and to destigmatize.


Brandi Neves

Hello, my name is Brandi Neves and I am a senior at Cal State San Marcos. My major is Psychology and hope to become an MFT one day after grad school. I chose to become a Healthy Cougar Peer Educator to help others with finding resources whether it be finding a therapist or helping out with other issues regarding mental health and well-being.

I am interested in being more involved with the campus and being able to provide background knowledge towards different issues while being a supporter for others. 


Angie Perez

Hello fellow Cougars! I am Angie Perez (she/her/hers) and am a senior here at CSUSM. I am majoring in Sociology with a minor in Sustainability. I became a Healthy Cougars Peer Educator because I believe everyone should have the available resources to maintain their mental and physical well-being. As a peer educator, I will be encouraging you all to make healthy lifestyle choices and connect you to the resources on campus. In the near future, I would like to apply for a Master’s in Public Health. 

In my free time, I enjoy embroidering, reading, and watching K-dramas. I also care for the natural environment around me and am attempting to minimize my footprint. I try to spend as much time as I can outdoors and am always amazed by its beauty. I look forward to interacting with you all! 


Michelle Pinon

Hi friends! My name is Michelle Pinon Bucio, and my pronouns are (she/her). I'm a first-generation college student with a major in psychology. I love going to the beach, playing with my two cats, listening to music and drawing! 

My ultimate goal, career wise, is to help normalize how important mental health upkeep is. Working here as a peer educator is a small step in that direction. I'm looking forward to meeting many new people through this program as well as helping and educating others!