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Lead Mentors

F.U.E.RZA is a program developed within the PASO HSI grant designed to meet the needs of the Latino male students in their second year with resources and support that are not currently available to them.

For more information on this program or to see if you qualify contact PASO at or to learn more about the mentoring program contact F.U.E.RZA at

Meet our Lead Mentors 

Leo Melena (Faculty Lead Mentor)

Leo Melena is a first-generation college graduate who is proud of his immigrant roots. Mr. Melena earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego after transferring from Palomar Community College and he received his Master of Arts degree in Postsecondary Education Leadership from San Diego State University. With over 10 years of service in higher education, Mr. Melena's goal is to assist students in the attainment of their collegiate aspirations. He currently serves as the Director of Student Success for the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral, and Social Sciences. Mr. Melena welcomes contact from prospective, current, or past students who have any questions regarding their higher education experience. 

Leo Melena
Director of Student Success
College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral, and Social Sciences
(760) 750-4275 ~ SBSB 4115

Leo Melena


Rafael Hernández (Faculty Mentor) 

Rafael Hernández earned his B.A. in Psychology from San Diego State University and his Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara. As an Assistant Professor in the Human Development Department, Dr. Hernández draws from his counseling training in diverse settings and his upbringing as a Chicano student, educator and mentor. His research interests include: the psychological impacts of racial microaggressions, critical race theory (CRT), ethnic identity development, and building culturally affirming communities that empower students to overcome adversity, achieve their educational goals, and develop into agents of social change.

Rafael J. Hernández, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development
College of Education, Health and Human Services
(760) 750-8252 ~ UNIV 300

Rafael Hernandez



Marisol Clark- Ibañez (Faculty Mentor)

Dr. Clark-Ibáñez joined the Sociology Department at CSUSM in September 2003. She earned tenure in June 2009. She is now a full professor. Dr. Clark-Ibáñez has taught at every level of the Sociology curriculum, from Soc 101 to doctoral qualitative methods. She enjoys coaching students to think critically and to engage in research for every course she teaches. Early in her career, she was the recipient of Faculty Advocate Award from the Educational Opportunity Program and Student Support Services (EOP/SSS). She was honored to be the first e-Learning Faculty Fellow at CSUSM. She has published numerous articles and one book on teaching. Dr. Clark-Ibáñez also served on the editorial board of the Teaching Sociology journal and is currently a board member of Sociological Perspectives. She was the recipient of the CSUSM President’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Teaching Innovation and Excellence Award (2014/2015). Dr. Clark-Ibáñez is committed to issues of diversity, equity, and social justice at CSUSM and in the larger community.

Marisol Clark-Ibañez, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology 
Sociology Department 
(760) 750-4631 ~ SBSB 4210

Marisol Clark-Ibáñez, Ph.D