Meet the Staff

2016 - 2017 Professional Staff

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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, served as a regional outreach coordinator for UC Merced Early Academic Outreach Program, and served 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 additional 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 culture.

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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), most recently as the Pacific Region Assistant Program Director for Training in Sacramento, CA.  Erin holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and is excited to be here at UC Davis.

2016 - 2017 Student Staff

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Vanessa Aleman - Community Building Intern

"A leader is a dealer in hope." - Napoleon Bonaparte

Major: Biopsychology
Year: Fifth
Hometown: Fairfield, CA

Leadership is about patience, consideration, and respect. It is about inspiration and cooperation, not intimidation or domination. It is a process of growth that ties optimistic views in the presence of adversity.  I believe that the foundation of leadership lies within the self to be emotionally aware of their own strengths and abilities in order to lead others in any situation. Everyone is capable of leading effectively. With a push forward and some motivation, you too can be a leader. There is always room for growth in leadership and I plan to continue to learn and develop as I walk across life and unfold within my journey.

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Kinsey Carlson - Media Marketing Intern

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, then you are a leader" - John Quincy Adams

Major: Design and Sociocultural Anthropology
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Madera, CA

The skills I've learned at the CLL are so incredibly valuable because they have not only helped me strengthen my professional skills, but they have helped me become a better teammate, roommate, friend, and overall a better person.

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Alejandro Chan - Community Building Intern

“Things turn out best for those who make the best out of how things turn out.” - John Wooden

Major: Biological Sciences | Minor: Education
Year: Third
Hometown: Modesto, CA

Leadership means taking initiative and being active in the communities that you care about. Sacrificing time and energy for others in that community and for the shared vision of that community. Everyone has a part to play and leadership is taking responsibility for one’s part, supporting others, encouraging collaboration, and striving for excellence for that shared vision and for the benefit of the community.

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Natalia Custodio - Design Intern

“Always let your conscience be your guide.” – Jiminy Cricket

Major: Design  |  Minor: Dramatic Arts
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Livermore, CA

The biggest learning lesson I have gained from my time here at the CLL has been the difference between being a leader and having leadership skills. The CLL has provided me with the opportunity to identify my strengths, explore ways to enhance my weaknesses, see how others use their leadership strengths and how to vary my leadership styles depending on the environments I am put in.

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Marissa Forzisi - Program Coordinating Intern

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing" - Walt Disney

Major: International Relations | Minor: Education, Communications
Year: Fourth
Hometown: San Diego, CA

To me leadership means having the courage in yourself and your ability to pursue your dreams while still remembering that being a leader is a learning process. Leadership means having confidence in what you believe while making sure to consider new ideas. Learning about leadership has given me the confidence to believe in myself and my work.

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Mariana Huben – Communications Intern

“It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.” – Remus Lupin

Major: English Literature
Year: Third
Hometown: Palos Verdes Estates, CA

Leadership is a process of learning about both professional skills and yourself. Truly committing to a task, practicing responsibility, and communicating effectively can only help you in professional environments and your leadership endeavors. 

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Kaitlyn Lopes - Peer Educator Intern

"Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple and it is also that difficult." - Warren Bennis

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

My leadership journey began when I noticed myself sharing my ideas and experiences more often in class. Something that was extremely difficult for me until I began improving my leadership skills. In reference to the quote above, I have truly become a better "me" during my time here at UC Davis because I have simultaneously been developing my leadership skills. I have learned that practicing leadership does not require a position of power nor does it have any prerequisites. How you demonstrate leadership is completely unique to you, because it is rooted in your own strengths and experiences.

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Kyle Patterson - Community Building Intern

"You want to lead one day? Then learn how to follow." - Jeor Mormont

Major: Communications | Minor: Writing
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Walnut, CA

It's not about ego. It's about the way we go. It's about getting things done, not getting credit. Making sure things gets done the right way, rather than right away. 

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Britt Pimental - Program Coordinating Intern

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Major: Anthropology
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Antioch, CA

Leadership is perseverance. It is getting back up after being knocked down, working through the issues, and continuing on with your work or passions despite setbacks or hardships.

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Alex Wilder - Peer Educator Intern

"It's not about the chair you sit in, but the impact you make around the table"

Major: Biological Systems Engineering | Minors: Computational Biology, Technology Management
Year: Fourth
Hometown: Lompoc, CA

Leadership is having that clear sense of self, that dedication to getting things done. You realize that with a positive mindset, hard work, a value-driven vision, and strong community, you can get to where you want to be. The unbelievable change permeates from your core to those around you, it's as simple as that.