Meet the Staff

Professional Staff

Picture of Christie

Christie Navarro - Director

"Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy

Christie Navarro is the Director for the Center for Leadership Learning. Christie is very passionate about leadership education and the evolving discipline of leadership studies. Prior to her tenure at UC Davis, Christie served as the California state representative for the college admission testing organization ACT, as a regional outreach coordinator for UC Merced Early Academic Outreach Program, and as a case manager for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Tulare County. Christie earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Arts in Higher Educational Leadership from California State University, Sacramento. In addition to leadership, Christie is also very passionate about civic engagement, social justice, and developing a global mindset. She is an avid traveler and enjoys learning about other countries and their cultures.

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Erin Blobaum - Leadership Educator

"For us, someone who is willing to step forward and help is much more courageous than someone who is merely fulfilling the role." - Margaret J. Wheatley

Erin joined the Center for Leadership Learning as a Leadership Educator in September 2016. Before that, she served for 13 years with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC). Erin holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

2017 - 2018 Student Staff

Romae-Anne Aquino – Communications Intern

Romae-Anne Aquino

"Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you’re proud to live.” - Anne Sweeney, Walt Disney

Majors: International Relations, Political Science, Spanish
Year: Third
Hometown: Antioch, CA

Leadership is not a destination, it is a journey; life is intensely similar. Through participation in any CLL sponsored events such as workshops, certificate programs, or leadership coaching, an individual of any type of background can gain the skills necessary for their aspiring career that will last a lifetime. Through low-commitment and interactive certificate programs, all students have the opportunity to network with their peers and professionals, grow professionally and academically, and continue to become self-aware of themselves and within their communities. These skills and experiences will carry on to students’ lives in every manner possible, whether personal, social, academic or professional. The Center for Leadership Learning certificate programs allow students to establish themselves in incomparable ways, which makes me whole-heartedly ecstatic to represent this Center for all the enthusiastic success and support that it stands for every day.

Alice Argueta – Peer Leader Intern (DLDP)

Alice Argueta

“Education is the mother of leadership.” - Wendell Willkie

Major: Human Development
Minor: Theatre/Dance and Education
Year: Third
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Professional Development is important for students to focus on because students usually focus on their academics. Students need to learn about the opportunities that professional development can provide after they graduate and begin to apply to jobs. The most important aspect about professional development is observing how a person has grown and blossomed into a leader!

Lauren Cabantac – Peer Educator Intern

Lauren Cabantac

“A boss has the title. A leader has the people.” -Simon Sinek

Major: Psychology
Minor: Economics
Year: Third
Hometown: Chula Vista, CA

My form of leadership involves knowing your strengths, knowing your teammates’ strengths, and utilizing everyone’s collective skills to accomplish a greater goal. To be a leader, you do not need a title.  You need to be willing to serve others and help motivate them to rise to a challenge. When I work with a team, I try to learn and recognize each person’s unique abilities. Before joining the Center for Leadership Learning, I did not know that this tendency of mine was a core strength called “individualization” and that I can focus on honing this talent to help become a better leader. I hope to use this trait of mine to help other students identify their unique strengths and mentor them in their journey to practice leadership in their everyday lives.

Trent Capurso – Peer Leader Intern (SLDP and CBLA)

Trent Capurso

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky” – Michael Scott

Major: History
Year: Fourth
Hometown: San Jose, CA

From my experiences, I have learned that anyone can become a leader. Before I came to the CLL, I felt overwhelmed by the word “leadership” and that I was too fearful to be a leader. However, I have learned that true courage does not come from not being scared, it comes from acting in spite of it. Admitting our vulnerabilities and our weaknesses are the first steps to becoming a great leader. 

Marielle Ednalino – Marketing & Design Intern

Marielle Ednalino

“Before the deed comes the thought. Before the achievement comes the dream. Every mountain we climb, we first climb in our mind.” – Royal Robbins

Major: Design
Minor: Textiles & Clothing / Art
Year: Fifth
Hometown: Pittsburg, CA

Leadership is the deconstruction of the top-down theory in our society and the implementation of the idea that any individual can be a leader. To me, this means empowering those around you to utilize their strengths in order to incite success, creativity, and purpose. It means understanding that a leader not only guides and supports their team but also recognizes when to step down and let others shine. 

Kaitlyn Lopes – Peer Educator Intern

Kaitlyn Lopes

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.” -  Edward Abbey

Major: Community and Regional Development 
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Merced, CA 

I truly believe that leadership and being a leader are tied to our journeys, which we can utilize to benefit our communities.  It is important to acknowledge both our achievements and the difficulties we have overcome, specifically the growth and development that occurred as a result of those obstacles. Our experience is what makes us powerful, unique, and leaders in our own right. We can utilize our experiences and stories, and act on them to make positive change for those around us, making a beautiful "view" for everyone a possibility. 

Joseph Nuñez – Peer Educator Intern

Joseph Nuñez

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” — Stephen R. Covey

Major: Political Science Public Service
Minors: Communications & Professional Writing
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Cudahy, CA

Over the years my perspective on leadership has evolved. It has gone from being the person who talks the most and gets the last word, to listening to understand and not to respond. My perspective has evolved from always trying to lead, to knowing when to lead and when to follow. This recent evolution has a lot to do with attending workshops hosted by the Center for Leadership Learning. Today, I find myself viewing everyday situations through a leadership lens and using techniques I learned at the CLL everywhere; at school, work, playing sports, and even at home. In doing so, I have been able to influence the people, communities and world around me. 

Divine Otico – Peer Leader Intern (SLDP)

Divine Otico

“I’m not sure if resilience is ever achieved alone. Experience allows us to learn from example. But if we have someone who loves us—I don’t mean who indulges us, but who loves us enough to be on our-side then it’s easier to grow resilience, to grow belief in self, to grow self-esteem. And its self-esteem that allows a person to stand up.” – Maya Angelou

Majors: Cognitive Science and Linguistics
Year: Third
Hometown: Walnut, CA

As a transfer student, I faced many obstacles and doubts during my pursuit of higher education, but it was resilience, a supportive community, and believing in myself that helped me succeed. All these aspects allowed me to discover my strengths and become the best version of myself. Our strengths are never tested during the best times. A leader is someone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone, be vulnerable, be open to new ideas to revise old ways, and see adversity as a stepping stone for growth. The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.

Rohan Singh – Peer Leader Intern (DLDP)

Rohan Singh

A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” -Lao Tzu

Major: English
Minor: Education
Year: Second
Hometown: Sacramento, CA

To me, leadership is about empowerment and being more than just a name or about power. Leadership at its core is knowing when to apply one’s expertise and when to take a backseat and allow other’s to show their knowledge. Leadership goes beyond telling individuals what to do and is in essence a community of people that can work together and trust what each person knows and brings to the table in order to work together in harmony and put forth the best product they possibly can as a unit. 

Julie Lau - Peer Leader Intern (SLDP)

Julie Lau

“Don’t waste a single second. Just move forward as fast as you can, and go for it.” - Rebecca Woodcock

Major: Food Science
Minor: Communication 
Year: Fourth
Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Throughout my time at UC Davis, I have learned to reflect on my identities and values in order to understand myself better. By becoming more self aware, I was able to become a better leader and a more effective communicator. I have learned that leadership is not about having power, it is about being able to work with others to bring about positive change.

Angela Perez de Tagle - Communications Intern

Angela Perez de Tagle

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." - Albus Dumbledore

Major: English
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Redwood Shores, CA

Leadership is the determination to pursue your passions and motivate others to do the same. Developing one's leadership skills enables personal growth, interconnectedness with peers, and lifelong successes. My leadership journey has built up my confidence and work ethic, and has provided me with the tools necessary to lead the life I want to live.

Naveena Ujagar - Peer Leader Intern (SLDP)

Naveena Ujugar

Major: Biomedical Engineering
Year: Second
Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Developing and expanding on my leadership skills has changed my life. Leadership has helped me find my voice, push me out of my comfort zones, and create connections with others. I am so proud and honored to be a part of CLL because I can now help others find and uplift their voice, while creating lasting relationships.