Mariana Ortega

Mariana Ortega
Phone: Dial (619) 767-3672
Office: Mission Crossroads 122C,PAL10-102

Community Director-San Buenaventura, MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador
MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador
Community Director-San Buenaventura


Bell Gardens, CA

Expected graduation date?

May 2019

What do you hope to do with your degree and/or credential, and why?

I hope to continue my work in Residential Life because it’s the reason I decided to get my degree in Higher Education. During my undergrad I served as an Resident Advisor for two years and currently serve as the Assistant Community Director at the Alcalá Vista apartments, at USD. My main goal is to work as a Community Director at any University for as long as I can and then hopefully move towards working for Student Conduct. What I like the most about Residential life is working with Resident Advisors and fostering a sense of community for students as they transition into college.

How did you hear about SOLES, and why did you choose to enroll?

I heard about SOLES from a former friend who was in the Higher Ed program. I started to look into USD right after I graduated from University of California, Irvine. I was invited to the open house and decided to make the drive up to San Diego to check out the university. When arriving I immediately felt welcomed in SOLES program and knew this is where I wanted to attend. The students were very helpful in answering questions and being transparent about their own personal experience. When I got admitted, I was beyond excited and knew this program is exactly what I needed and was looking for.

Are you currently working? If so, do you work full-time, part time, and what do you do?

I currently work part-time as an Assistant Community Director in the Alcalá Vista apartments, here at USD. In my job I cultivate individual growth and personal development through living and learning programs, advise a hall council, and conduct intentional student outreach in the University’s model of culture of care. I co-advise a group of 17 RAs and co-manage 600 students living in the housing complex. The Alcalá Vista apartment centers on supporting and challenging second year students to get involved within the USD community and exploring their own interest.

Any outside obligations (family, military, volunteer work, student organizations, etc)?

I’m currently involved with SOLES Graduate Student Association (SGSA) as a Graduate Student Council Representative. I attend monthly graduate student council meetings as a way to advocate for graduate students in the SOLES program. We discuss any future programs to host for all graduate students and exchange any comments or concerns that may be needed for all graduate students. I’m also part of the professional development committee in SGSA. We work on creating opportunities for students to get the help they need through their professional development, such as hosting workshops for resume, cover letter, LinkedIn etc.