"EOP was there for me even before I started my education at Chico State and became more like a family to me than a support service."
– Veronica Coates, School Psychologist
- Chela Mendoza Patterson, Director
- Christopher Malone, Associate Director, EOP
- Caren Fernandez, Associate Director, SSS
- Victoria Bass, EOP Admissions Coordinator
- Marina Fox, Foster Youth Program Coordinator
- Dawn Frank, Advisor
- Thang Ho, Educational Data and Technology Specialist
- Megan Kurtz, SSS Academic Coordinator
- Kathleen McFarren, Administrative Support Assistant
- Jeanette McMurry, Office Manager
- Carol Robinson, Publications and Public Events Specialist
- Cecilia Santillan-Robles, Advisor
- Joshuah Myers Whittinghill, Advisor
Chela Mendoza Patterson, Director
I am originally from Oxnard, the oldest of five children. I attended the University of California, Irvine where I was an EOP student and went through Summer Bridge. After earning my BA in sociology, I attended the University of Maryland, College Park where I earned my MA in counseling and personnel services. My husband (known on campus as Dr. “P”) and I came to Chico in 1983. We have two children, Alisa and Alex. In 1998, I received my doctorate in educational leadership from USC. Please drop by and say “hello”!
Christopher Malone, Associate Director, EOP
I have been associated with CSU, Chico since my undergraduate years, during which I played football and ran track, while pursuing a degree in psychology. I have been with EOP since 1980 and I continue to appreciate the variety of tasks and challenges that our work entails. It is very gratifying working with students, staff, and faculty who are committed to making sure that students are successful.
Caren Fernandez, Associate Director, SSS
I was born in Salinas and raised in Prunedale, California. I graduated with a BA in psychology, a BS in business administration with an option in MIS, and MA in education from Chico State. I have been fortunate to work with various TRiO programs such as Upward Bound and Talent Search and now Student Support Services. I enjoy working with students; there isn't anything I would rather be doing at this point in my life. I am an open-minded, goal-oriented person, who enjoys spending time with my family, friends, and my dog. I love watching and playing sports as well as traveling.
Victoria Bass, EOP Admissions Coordinator
I was born and raised in Northern California. I received my BA in social sciences with an emphasis in history from Sonoma State University and continued on to receive a teaching credential from CSU, Chico. I have always had a passion for education and look forward to helping students in any way that I'm able!
Marina Fox, Foster Youth Program Coordinator
I come from the great Butte County town of Gridley and attended Butte College where I met my best friend and husband, Jeffrey. I transferred to Chico State in 1996, where I was an EOP student as well as a student worker with EOP admissions. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in social work in 1998 and have spent the last 15 years working with various populations in the social service field. I am currently back in school at Chico State, enrolled in a three-year master's in social work program. Free time is rare, but when I do have a moment, I love to spend time with family, travel, and shop for unique finds at thrift stores. I am tremendously excited to be back at Chico State to support foster youth alumni through their college experience!Dawn Frank, Advisor
I am thrilled to be the newest advisor in the Educational Opportunity Program assisting students in the College of Natural Sciences. I received my bachelor’s degree from Chico State in the Multicultural and Gender Studies program with an emphasis in Women’s Studies. I have two beautiful sons and have lived in Chico since 2000. I love my job and the EOP family and find great joy in supporting students meet their academic and personal goals.
Thang Ho, Educational Data and Technology Specialist
I moved to Chico in 1996 and attended both Butte Community College and CSU, Chico. I graduated with a double major in business marketing and management information systems in 2002. My wife Laura and I have been married since 2004 and we have a wonderful daughter name Caitlin. We have been blessed to live and work in a wonderful community like Chico. Please stop by and say “Hi”.
Megan Kurtz, SSS Academic Coordinator
I grew up in Bakersfield, California attending local public schools and spent two years at Bakersfield Junior College before transferring to Chico State in 2000. I graduated with a degree in communication in 2004 and decided that the charm and unique energy of Chico was where I wanted to make my home and start a family. Guiding students to find what journey is best for them is a true passion of mine and I enjoy seeing people strive to reach beyond themselves to succeed. My husband, Stuart (also a Chico State Alumni), and I enjoy being outside in the open spaces that Chico provides. We especially like riding our cruiser bikes in the park and being downtown. Please stop by the EOP/SSS office and say hello. I would love to hear your story.
Kathleen McFarren, Administrative Support Assistant
I am originally from Sacramento and moved to Chico to attend CSU, Chico—and I never left! I love living in this beautiful big-little town, with its shady, horse-friendly park and an excellent university that I, along with my husband and daughter, graduated from. Our son is currently attending Butte College, and maybe he’ll end up here, too. I am new to the EOP/SSS family and am sure I have the best job on campus. Each day, I get to work with a passionate and dedicated staff of professionals and students. Plus, I’m meeting so many amazing and hard-working EOP and SSS students, who come by our office from all over campus to meet with their advisors and use our computer lab.
Jeanette McMurry, Office Manager
My family moved to Chico in 1961. I grew up attending Chico schools and graduated from CSU, Chico with a BA in history and a minor in English. I have had the privilege of working as a staff member on campus since 1995 and am delighted to be a part of the EOP office and educational mission. I am very blessed to have four wonderful children, two grandchildren, and family and friends to laugh and love with. Some of my favorite things to do are reading, walking, singing, and bike-riding in Bidwell Park.
Carol Robinson, Publications and Public Events Specialist
I have been lucky to work for the Educational Opportunity Program for over 20 years both as a student and staff. I have a variety of duties including coordinating the EOP graduation celebration, producing EOP publications, and serving as an advisor for the Latino Graduation Celebration.
I am a Chico State alumna with a bachelor's in art with an emphasis in art history. I love being a mom to my twins, Maya and Kellen, and spending time with my husband.
Cecilia Santillan-Robles, Advisor
Hola! I’m Cecilia Santillan-Robles, one of the EOP advisors in our office. I’m happily married to Alberto and we have been blessed with three children, Alberto, Viviana, and Andres. I graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s in sociology and a master’s in psychology. I am fortunate to advise the students in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. I truly enjoy my career and always look forward to helping our students.
Joshuah Myers Whittinghill, Advisor
I have been fortunate now to be a member of the EOP community for ten years. It has been an amazingly uplifting, inspiring, and rewarding decade. Working with all of the students and staff, I have been able to learn more than I ever imagined about helping people and being helped by those same people. Students and colleagues have helped me learn to be a better more focused advisor and even more so a better person. All of the experiences within EOP have carried over to my family at home. My wife Laura, son Beck, and daughter Sage would all agree and say thank you to all of EOP—the students and the staff.
I am a Chico grad. While a student I studied and worked in the departments of anthropology, English and music.