2020-2021 PLUS Team Members

Student Engagement hires approximately 25 WOU students to serve as members of the Orientation PLUS (Peer Leaders Understanding Students) Team! PLUS Team assists incoming students during the Summer Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) days, as well as works during New Student Week to get students excited about approaching school year and help new students make meaningful connections with their fellow classmates, which is approximately 1300 new incoming and transfer students each year.

Brayleen Blanchard

Sophmore
Major: Psychology
Minor: Forensic Psychology
Hometown: Tualatin, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a Forensic Psychologist. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Student Activities Board, capture the flag, volleyball in the grove, and the food at Valsetz.. I work in Student Engagement as the Facilities Scheduling/Conference Assistant. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, boating, and spending time with friends. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Momiji Sushi. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is Attempting to capture a squirrel with my friend and failing miserably.

Fun fact: I can do a really long headstand!

 

Basil Aljafar

Senior
Major: Community Health Education
Hometown: Saudi Arabia

My career aspiration is to become a public health official to help improve health in my community. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Community and Family Health Organization. I work as a peer advisor in PLUS Team. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my family and learning new skills. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is at home. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was when I met the great professors and got to see our beautiful campus.

Fun fact: I broke my nose when I was five years old and
have not been able to smell odors well ever since.

 

Enrique Martinez

Senior
Major: Education
Minor: Middle School Mathmatics
Hometown: Portland, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a Middle school Math teacher in my hometown. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included being a part of PLUS Team, involved in Discover Leadership and helping out as a program assistant in Student Engagement! I work for Western as a Program Assistant in charge of various student oriented programs! Outside of school, I enjoy drinking coffee, playing video games and watching anime series. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Yang’s Teriyaki! My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is when I stayed up all night with a couple of other PLUS team members my first year and created deep friendships.

Fun fact: I have a matching tattoo with my mom on my
hand!

 

Cheyanne Bumgardner

Senior
Major: American Sign Language/English Interpreting
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Grants Pass, OR

My career aspiration is to become a Sign language interpreter in medical & mental health care settings. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included the Honors Program, American Sign Language Club, being a Hall Host, Discover Leadership, Academic Excellence Showcase, National Residence Hall Honorary, Leadership Certificate Program, being a Teaching Assistant, Student Outreach Initiative, Student Health Advisory Committee, and being an Interpreting Studies Advising Assistant. I work as a Student Coordinator for PLUS Team and the Campus Ambassadors Team, as well as the Campus Visitation Coordinator. Outside of school, I enjoy cooking, baking, playing my ukulele, listening to musical theatre tunes, and dancing. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Yeasty Beasty. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was my time as a Hall Host! I had the privilege of giving tours of the residence halls to prospective students and their families on a weekly basis, and I had an absolute blast doing so! This role opened the door for so many leadership opportunities on campus!

Fun fact: I attended a dual-enrollment program between a charter school and a community college while in high school. I spent the majority of my junior and senior years actively taking classes on a community college campus. For any incoming dual-enrolled students, I understand the uniqueness of being not quite a traditional first-year but not quite a transfer student!

 


Gheraldy Bobadilla-Cruz

Sophmore
Major: Education Middle/High School Social Science
Hometown: The Dalles, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a High School Teacher. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Plus Team. Outside of school, I enjoy hanging with friends and playing video games. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Lonney’s Lunch Wagon. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is meeting new people and just chilling on Campus.

Fun Fact: I collect pins!

 

Abigail Fisher

Junior
Major: Early Childhood/Elementary Education and ASL/English Interpreting
Minor: American Sign Language
Hometown: Tigard, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to graduate with two undergraduate degrees and a masters degree. My career goal is to work as an elementary school teacher during the school
year and interpret over the summers. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included ASL Club, Hall Government, and Discover Leadership. I work as a Student Success and Advising (SSA) tutor and as an Ambassador. Outside of school, I enjoy hanging out with friends, hiking, baking, and listening to music. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Yeasty Beasty. My favorite moment from my first year at WOU was going on the Discover Leadership retreat.

Fun fact: When I went to New York for my senior graduation trip, I had a picnic in Central Park.

Elizabeth Braatz

Senior
Major: Criminal Justice
Minor: Legal Studies
Hometown: Anacortes, WA

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a Civil Rights/Criminal Prosecuting Lawyer. I also want to become a politician. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Vice President of Heritage Hall, Vice President of Residence Hall Society, Academic Honors, Powderpuff, Resident Assistant, ASWOU Senate University Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee, University Cultural Competency Advisory Committee, and Multicultural Student Union. I work very hard on the things that I am passionate about. I have been a dedicated student leader since the second week of my first year at college. I have worked within many positions of leadership and within University Committees that work on advancing student voices and representation on campus. Outside of school, I enjoy hanging out with my girlfriend, friends, and family. I also love working on advocacy projects that pertain to advocating for human rights issues. I also love going to the beach! My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Mangiare Italian Restaurant. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was meeting my life long friends that I still have to this day.

Fun fact: I starred in an international film festival that won 1st place.

 

Madison Knox

Senior
Major: Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Minor: Theatre Arts
Hometown: Lyons, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a kindergarten teacher! Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included the Elections Committee, Student Vaccine Outreach Program, I’m a board member of the WOU Foundation and I was the Executive Director of Public Relations for ASWOU for two years. This is my second year as a Campus Ambassador and my third year on PLUS Team! Outside of school, I enjoy reading fantasy novels out loud to my houseplants, thrift shopping with my friends and playing with my kitten, Acorn. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Yang’s Teriyaki. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was when I met my roommate for the first time and realized that she was going to be one of my closest friends for the rest of my life! WOU has given me so many incredible friendships that I am so honored to have.

Fun fact: I once read the entire Harry Potter series with the books upside down.

Priscila España

Junior
Major: Public Policy & Administration & Spanish
Hometown: Medford, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to pursue a master’s and work in some sort of community-based setting. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included MECHA, Unidos, Discover Leadership, hall government, MCR mentor, and honors program. I workwith Upward Bound as one of the tutoring coordinators. Outside of school, I enjoy trying out different boba places near the area with friends or working out at the Peter Courtney Health & Wellness Center. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Sing Fay or Lonney’s. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is traveling to Arizona with MECHA for the national conference.

Fun fact: Governor Kate Brown once tweeted about me

Blanca Jimenez

Sophomore
Major: Community Family Health Education & Psychology
Minor: Gerontology
Hometown: I was born in Los Angeles,
California but raised in Portland, Oregon.

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a Psychiatrist. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Unidos, MSU, MECHA, MCR, Women’s Rugby, and Women’s Soccer. I work for MSU, MCR, and as a math tutor. Outside of school, I enjoy going on adventures with my roommates, going to the gym, and eating tacos. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Lonney’s Lunch Wagon. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was being a part of the Summer Bridge program an meeting lots of amazing individuals who have become my friends. My highlight from the week in Summer Bridge was going to the aquarium and the beach.

Fun fact: I have so many fears, but my major one is hights (yes I’ve cried in some situations).

 

Jessica Garibay Ochoa

Sophmore
Major: Community Health
Minor: Psychology
Hometown: Salem, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a pediatric nurse or any occupation in the medical field that is working with children or babies. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included activities and clubs like being part of the Unidos Club Internship, volunteering at the Food Pantry, being a Brody Scholar and now being part of the PLUS team as well as being a Summer Bridge Advisor for this summer. I work individually and with others. I like to get to know other people and I like making friends. I am a person that likes to do homework in a quiet room to try to get all the assignments turned in on time. Outside of school, I enjoy baking with my younger siblings, going on a hike, exploring new things, traveling and spending quality time with my friends and family. By going to the beach, watching a movie, going on a walk to the park, or trying new things. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Casa Burrito. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is getting to know new people. At first it may be a little nerve racking not knowing anyone, but once you start to get involved with clubs, activities and sports offered at WOU you start to meet new people each day. It is also fun getting to know each person’s story and what they love to do. I don’t have a specific favorite moment, but I do treasure every single moment and memory that I create at WOU.

Fun fact: I am starting to learn how to play tennis!

Isaac Acosta

Senior
Major: Education
Minor:ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages
Hometown: Salem, OR


My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a secondary school teacher. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Academic honors, The Northwest Passage, Transfer Scholars. I work as an AVID Tutor/ student teacher for the Salem-Keizer School District. Outside of school, I enjoy making music, playing ultimate frisbee, basketball, and backpacking. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Burgerville. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is Filming a parody of The Office in Hamersly Library.

Fun fact: My favorite race is the Shamrock Run in Portland for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

Yasmin Schulberg

Senior
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry
Hometown: Hillsboro, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a naturopathic physician. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included working as a resident assistant, research for the Biology department on long-term ecology of Oregon White Oaks, co-leading housing’s POC affinity group, and Air Force ROTC (through OSU). I work on campus as part of PLUS Team, as well as being a Campus Ambassador. Outside of school, I enjoy getting outside whenever possible. I love all things involving nature and outdoors, and indoors I like to take care of my pet fish, my plants, and sew. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Momoji’s. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is living with my best friend and laughing until my stomach hurt every single day.

Fun fact: My first ever plane ride was on the way to Perth, Australia. Two days after my high school graduation, I began my 3 month summer/’winter’ break as an au pair, 9,200 miles away from home, and it was the best decision of my life.

Angel Cruz

Senior
Major: Math Education
Minor: ESOL
Hometown: Lincoln City, OR

My career aspiration is to become a high school mathematics teacher after graduating from Western Oregon University. After working for some years, I will work towards going to graduate school for Mathematics in order to teach mathematics at a University/college level. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included several on campus events or clubs and organizations. I enjoy being a part of the only fraternity on Campus, Math Club, Byte Club, UNIDOS and several more. I have to say being a part of PLUS Team is pretty great honestly! I work on campus as a Student Ambassador, PLUS Team Advisor, and a Math Tutor, and on the weekends I work at the Lincoln City Human Bean! Outside of school, I enjoy skateboarding, playing soccer, video games, hiking, and hanging out with friends whether that be us road tripping or planning events together. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is most definitely YANGS teriyaki. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU would be when Covid happened unfortunately. This is because Spring term was surely interesting and a fun experience!

Fun fact: My fun fact is also kind of an advice as well. Whenever you think things couldn’t get any worse, just remember I ran over my best friend and we are still best friends to this day. So things WILL get better.

Moshe Martinez

Junior
Major: Computer Science
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Independence, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to do something in the tech industry. I want to be able to use my tech skills in order to help others and use technology for the greater good, like protecting the planet. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included being a part of Omega Delta Phi, a fraternity on campus. Also, participating in Men’s club soccer. I work as an MCR Coordinator, Campus Ambassador, Upward Bound Tutor, and UCS Student Tech. Outside of school, I enjoy playing sports like soccer and tennis and I enjoy working out. I also play music (guitar, keyboard, drums, bass) at my church. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is my house.. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was going on a retreat with Discover Leadership.

Fun fact: I’m a big Marvel fan, and my favorite character is Spider-man.

Arlette Tapia Lopez

Junior
Major: Social Science with a concentration in Political Science
Minor: Legal Studies
Hometown: Gervais, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a very successful Lawyer. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included very successful Lawyer. I work at DoorDash lol. Also during the school year, I like to work in various leadership positions at WOU. I like to stay involved. Outside of school, I enjoy going on walks, and go on adventures with my friends and family. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Momijis. In my first year at WOU, I enjoyed being a part of the tree lighting parade. It was one of my most cherished moments at WOU because all the students, faculty/staff family attended the event. It was nice to see the WOU community come together.

Fun fact: I don’t know how to swim, but it’s never too late to learn. :))

Sandra Garcia Torres

Senior
Major: Psychology and Spanish
Hometown: Colima, Mexico

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a mental health counselor or a clinical psychologist. I am still trying to figure that out. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included going to WOU Sports games when I am free, giving campus tours, and talking to any peer in class! I work as a Co-coordinator for the Admission’s Campus Ambassador, Educational Coordinator for Alternative Break, Senior PLUS Team Member, and ASWOU Elections Committee member. Outside of school, I enjoy buying plants, going on hikes, camping, fishing, going to the beach, learning how to waterski, going on walks, playing any sport, attending sports events, and spending time with my family! My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Mi Casita (aka Los Primos). They have the best Tacos ever! My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is getting to know people while learning more about WOU’s campus resources!

Fun fact: The first time I got on a plane was when I went skydiving a couple of years ago!

Ashley McKenzie

Sophmore
Major: Social Science
Hometown: Salem, OR and Gladstone, OR

My career aspiration is to become a Social Worker and work with children. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included Student Activities Board, Plus Team, and Choir. I work for Plus Team, and on the weekends I balance coaching as well as working staff at baseball tournaments. Outside of school, I enjoy coaching youth baseball, playing softball, and hanging out with friends. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Koyotes Tacos. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU iwas my first week here while I was getting to know all of the people on my floor and we went out on a late night adventure. We all laughed and instantly clicked with one another.

Fun fact: I have watched all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls, as well as Gilmore Girls: Year in the Life, 4 times through

Nancy Montecinos

Junior
Major: Psychology
Minor: Health
Hometown: Sisters, Oregon

My career (or academic) aspiration is to continue on to a graduate program after I get my B.S in Psychology. My career aspiration is to become a therapist or school psychologist! Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included being a part of Heritage Hall government as the publicist, volunteering at the Food pantry, as well attending awesome programs put on throughout the year. Along with being a PLUS Team member, I will also be an Ambassador for the year of 2021-2022. I am currently working as a Resident Assistant here at Western in Barnum hall. Outside of school, I enjoy reading, going on drives, hiking, and spending time with family and friends! My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Casa Burrito and Yang’s. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was being the Publicist for my hall government. Especially completing the Drop It Down Glow dance in Heritage Hall. After several weeks of planning and preparing we were finally able to put the dance on and over one hundred people showed up to the dance. It’s my favorite moment because I got to see how happy other students were at the dance and I also got to meet a lot of great people through the process!

Fun fact: A fun fact about me is that I played 3 instruments for regular band and jazz band at my high school. I also quote Vines and Tiktoks at random times!

Cesar Murillo

Sophmore
Major: Biology
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Mt. Shasta, CA

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a doctor. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included PLUS Team and Pre-Med Club. I work as a Patient Observation Companion at Salem Health. Outside of school, I enjoy hiking, taking photos, listening to + playing music. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Coyotes. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is getting a new job

Fun fact: I have never broken a bone, I’ve drank a lot of milk back in my day!

Anakaren Puentes

Senior
Major: Early Childhood/Elementary Education
Minor: ESOL Endorsement & Psychology
Hometown: Albany, OR

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a bilingual teacher. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included WOU dance team , discover leadership, MSU, M.E.CH.A, MCR mentor. Outside of school, I enjoy dancing , working out for fun, painting and traveling. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Casa Burrito. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is when I lived in Barnum 3rd floor and my roommates had the door open and a possum came in. I screamed so loud everyone in Barnum heard.

Fun fact: I hate/enjoy fishing , it’s peaceful but boring when there’s no fish.

Britain Schneider

Sophmore
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Redding, CA

My career aspiration is to become a 2nd or 3rd grade teacher. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included the Honors program, CRU Club, and PLUS Team! I work at Target as a cashier and service advocate in Redding. Outside of school, I enjoy building puzzles, reading, going on walks with my family, and watching movies. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Main Street Ice Cream Parlor. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was being able to participate in on campus activities while living in California.

Fun fact: I have been playing the piano for 8 years.

Elisa Tenido

Junior
Major: Education with a concentration in middle/high school history
Hometown: St. Helens, Oregon

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become an educator working to make the school system better. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included living on campus, working as an Ambassador and being part of Alpha Chi Omega! I work by trying my hardest and I like to keep a busy schedule because it is fun to me. Outside of school, I enjoy hanging out with my friends and discussing important topics such as Marvel, books and pop culture! As well as spending time at the beach looking at the waves. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Mink’s Thai Place! My favorite memory of my first year at WOU is when my friends and I decided to help dye each others’ hair, but ended up dying the showers pink instead. It was a good laugh and one interesting way to leave our marks in the dorm.

Fun fact: I have a pet bunny named Burr after the founding father in the musical Hamilton…(and history)!

 

Devin Thongdy

Senior
Major: Psychology
Minor: Forensic & Educational Psychology
Hometown: Anchorage, AK

My career (or academic) aspiration is to become a clinical therapist who focuses the help at-risk teens and adolescents. Some of my favorite involvements on campus have included going to different programs and events held by various clubs and organizations, going to the gym and exercising, volunteering and helping others out. I work as a Resident Assistant and now as Plus Team Member, Campus Ambassador, and many more. Outside of school, I enjoy going on walks, experiencing new things, going out to eat, hanging with friends, and love to adventure. My favorite place to eat in Monmouth/Independence is Lonny’s Lunch wagon. My favorite memory of my first year at WOU was not having a boring day here in college. From late-night studying in the library to late-night beach adventures. All of this due to the people I made friends with and putting myself out there even though I was the new kid in the states. My first year was full of many cherished memories and being a part of the Western community helped me with
that.

Fun fact: I was was placed second in an acting competition for Dramatic Interpretation.