Meet Our Staff

“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be; embrace who you are.” - Brene Brown


EMILY ISABEL GARCIA, Graduate Assistant


Emily Isabel Garcia is one of our graduate assistants in the Center for Leadership. She was born and raised in Santa Maria, California where she attended Allan Hancock College before transferring to Cal Poly SLO in 2016. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies in the Spring of 2018 and is currently enrolled in the Higher Education Counseling/Student Affairs graduate program at Cal Poly.


While Emily was attending Allan Hancock she was a part of the TRIO program and worked as a student assistant in the Office of the Vice President for Student Services. When she transferred to Cal Poly she became a student worker in the IT Department and was an intern for the College of Liberal Arts Advising Center where she mentored students on academic probation. Throughout her college journey, Emily was able to experience opportunities that led her to become passionate for student development and success. Emily believes that leadership exists in every person and that it does not exclude anyone. She is excited to be working in the center and see each student thrive as they discover the leader within themselves.


When Emily isn’t in the center or in class, she enjoys spending time with loved ones and connecting with the community through her local church. A few other of her enjoyments are dancing (especially Latin, jazz, and hip hop styles), hanging out at coffee shops, and finding new places to explore on the central coast.


JEVON EDWARDS, Practicum Graduate Student


Jevon Edwards is a practicum graduate student of the Center for Leadership. She was born at Edwards Air Force Base in California and grew up in Santa Maria, California. Jevon resided in Georgia for some time before returning to the Central Coast. While in Georgia, Jevon pursued an associate degree at Chattahoochee Technical College and later completed the degree at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. Jevon received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at San Jose State University and is currently a master’s candidate for the Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs program at Cal Poly.


Jevon has worked for Cal Poly since 2017 as an Administrative Coordinator for the Facilities department and has also served as a club advisor for the Black Student Union and an academic advisor for the First-Year Success Program at Cal Poly. Jevon is passionate about uplifting, empowering, and supporting students throughout their college years. She believes that every student has the potential to become successful leaders by supporting and guiding others regardless of their official title or position.


Jevon enjoys going to the movies, exploring eateries, and travelling. She is an avid fitness and nutrition enthusiast and hopes to become a certified personal trainer; ultimately helping others practice and enjoy healthy and active lifestyles!

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” - Maya Angelou

"In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” - Audre Lorde




Elizabeth Thomas is a Coordinator in the Center for Leadership. She is originally from Austin, TX where she developed a love for tex-mex, karaoke, and water sports. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from DePaul University in 2013. During her undergraduate career, she served as an Orientation Leader and Welcome Week Coordinator. These experiences sparked her interests in mentorship, leadership, and student affairs in general. After graduation, Elizabeth worked in the Chicago real estate business for two years before obtaining her Masters in Higher Education from Loyola University Chicago.


During her time in graduate school, she gained experience in campus activities and residence life, and was introduced to Cal Poly’s campus as a NODA intern for New Student & Transition Programs during the summer of 2016. Elizabeth’s passion for leadership became more prevalent while teaching a course on leadership and service for first year students during the second year of her master’s program.


In her work, Elizabeth strives to integrate social justice and leadership and show how these subjects contribute to the holistic development of students. She believes that leaders are made, not born, and that the most important facet of leadership is cultivating a passion for learning from and with others. In her spare time, she loves to explore the outdoors, hike, kayak, and delve into her creative side through singing and playing guitar. She also values time with family and enjoys spoiling her niece and nephew every chance she gets.




Heather Domonoske is the Lead Coordinator of the Center for Leadership. She is originally from Claremont, CA and studied Environmental-Sociology and Economics at Whitman College before completing her M.A. in College Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University. She has been working for Outward Bound (in North Carolina, Florida, and Washington) as an instructor on backpacking, sea kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, and whitewater canoeing courses since 2013.


During graduate school, she worked in leadership education, facilitated social justice programs, mediated student conduct and conflict resolution, interned for marketing and recruitment for her master's program, and taught leadership seminars at Bowling Green State University and the University of Michigan. Heather most recently worked at the Evergreen State College as a Resident Director where she worked with the first year living communities, the outdoor interest and legacy hall (an intentional multicultural community) themed communities, served on the orientation planning committee, and supervised resident assistants.


She strives to support the development of socially responsible leadership at Cal Poly and is very excited to be a part of the Centers team. Heather is passionate about education and creating environments for growth, self-discovery, and community that provide meaningful experiences for all students. She believes leaderships is non-positional and is strongest when done in relation with others; therefore, creating intentional and meaningful relationships built through an expansive equity lens is critical. In addition to her passion for leadership, Heather enjoys getting outside, cooking, spending time (in person or on the phone) connecting with friends and family, and playing with her cat.

“When I am afraid to speak is when I speak. That is when it is most important. - the freedom in fear” - Nayyirah Waheed


"Not all those who wander are lost.” - J.R.R. Tolkien




Jason Mockford is the Director of Leadership & Service in the Dean of Students office at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. He is originally from Auburn, California and holds a B.S. in Graphic Communication and an M.A. in Counseling & Guidance, Higher Education, both from California Polytechnic State University.


Jason has been involved in a leadership role with NODA, the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education as a Transfer Services Network Chair from 2011-2014 and as a member of the Annual Conference Advisory Committee in 2014. For six years he has been responsible for advising Cal Poly’s orientation board, Open House committee, and developing the nationally recognized orientation leader training program. He has served in leadership roles both on the Cal Poly campus and in national organizations. On top of all of these roles he is also a mediator with Creative Mediation in San Luis Obispo and serves on their Program Advisory Board.


He believes leadership is about leveraging social influence to motivate others to action towards a shared vision or common purpose. When asked what he is passionate about he explained that he likes to play where science and art meet.

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