MeeT the Staff
Janet Abbott, M.A., Director
Office: (619) 594-3803
Administration Building, 201G
Janet Abbott has administered the San Diego State University (SDSU) Compact Scholars Program since 2005 when she was appointed as its founding director. She previously served as the Campus Coordinator for the California State University Early Assessment Program for the SDSU service area.
Prior to joining SDSU, Janet served as Associate Director of the University of California San Diego’s California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP). There are 15 Cal-SOAP projects in the state operating under the auspices of the California Student Aid Commission serving their K-12 local schools in improving the flow of information about postsecondary education and financial aid while raising the achievement levels of underrepresented, low-income, first-generation students. She was also a tenured high school English and AVID teacher with the Grossmont Union High School District.
In 2010, Janet received SDSU’s Vice Presidential Student Service Award, Quest for the Best, and in 2013, she was honored as the Staff recipient for SDSU’s Diversity Award for her commitment to diversity, and her professional leadership and judgment in the delivery of services to students.
Janet earned her bachelor’s degree and California Teaching Credential from the University of San Diego where she graduated magna cum laude. Her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration is from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Amanda Fuller, M.F.A., Academic Coordinator
Office: (619) 594-0474
Administration Building, 201F
Amanda Fuller has served as the Academic Coordinator for the San Diego State University (SDSU) Compact Scholars and Academic Student Success Programs since 2015. In 2018, she was awarded SDSU’s prestigious President’s Leadership Fund Excellence Award for her work supporting Compact Scholars. She has also served as a Lecturer in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, where she has taught since 2011. Prior to joining SDSU, Amanda served as Director of Program Administration for the Making Waves Education Program in Richmond, CA, where she taught and provided educational services to students in grades 5-12, in preparation for their acceptance to and graduation from the four-year colleges and universities. Her focus at the Making Waves Education Program was to elevate the achievement levels of largely underserved, first-generation students.
In addition to her work as an education professional, Amanda has served as a contributing editor for SDSU's acclaimed Poetry International, and is a founding editor of Locked Horn Press, a small literary press based in San Diego, CA, which publishes poetry anthologies paired with critical companion texts. As a poet and translator, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Fugue, Matter, 5 Quarterly, BlazeVOX, Lunch Ticket, Poetry International, Cactus Heart and elsewhere. She received her B.A. in Environmental Science from the University of California, Berkeley and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from San Diego State University.
Justin Villaseñor, M.A., Academic Advisor
Office: (619) 594-3810
Administration Building, 201J
Justin Villaseñor received his Masters in 2018 from the Postsecondary Educational Leadership masters program at San Diego State University. From the time he was a graduate student until he began working with the Compact Scholars Program, he worked with Commuter Life programs in Student Life & Leadership as a Student Affairs Assistant and as a Student Life Advisor.
Prior to pursuing his masters, Justin received his Bachelors in Communication Studies from Chapman University in 2015 and, after graduating, he served one term with AmeriCorps VISTA as a Coordinator for Chapman University's Futuros Brillantes Teen Mentoring Program. As an undergraduate student, Justin completed more than 600 hours of community service, interned with the OC Food Bank - helping students apply for CalFresh, and participated in undergraduate research which was published in the academic journal, Computers in Human Behavior.
Justin identifies as a first-generation, Latino student who comes from a low-income family; as an undergraduate student, he also commuted to campus and switched his major two times. His background and experiences help him understand the challenges that many Compact Scholars and commuter students may face while trying to make the most of their academic journeys, which fuels his passion for working with them.
Beyond this, Justin loves playing video games, watching movies, and singing karaoke. He is looking forward to building relationships with students and supporting them during their journey at SDSU!
Ashley Gaetan, B.S., Academic Programs Assistant
Office: (619) 594-0563
Administration Building, 201
Ashley Gaetan graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition. Prior to her higher education, Ashley graduated from Hilltop High School -- making her a Compact for Success and Compact Scholars Alumni. She identifies as a first-generation, commuter student who comes from a low-income family in Chula Vista.
Academic Peer Mentors / Student Staff
Gabriela graduated from San Ysidro High School in 2018 and majors in chemistry. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career as a forensic chemist. She enjoys singing, binging Netflix shows, video and image editing, and spending time with friends and family. One of her favorite quotes is, “if you can dream it, you can do it.”
Natalia graduated from Southwest High School in 2018 and majors in Spanish. Upon graduation from SDSU, she plans to get both a teaching credential and a translation certificate. Natalia aspires to work as an interpreter for a few years and then begin teaching in high school or college. Her hobbies include playing drums, reading, playing soccer, learning new languages and martial arts. Natalia's favorite quote is, “It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”
Marc graduated from Eastlake High School in 2018. He is majoring in accounting and minoring in philosophy and plans on pursuing a career in law after graduating from SDSU. His hobbies include reading, photography, and exercising. A quote that resonates with him is from the book Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell “No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich”.
Amy graduated from Bonita Vista High School in 2019. She is majoring in Business Management and plans on building her own business and opening a restaurant in the future. She has a very large Mexican family that really enjoys spending time together with food as the center of their get togethers. Her mom is an amazing cook with many recipes everyone enjoys, and hopes to have many people experience them. Amy's hobbies include cooking new dishes, styling hair with braids and such, and occasionally watching Criminal Minds on the weekends. Her favorite quote is “If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem”. To her, It has always meant to be a person of action that makes a positive contribution to the world.
Siena is a first-generation college student as well as a commuter. She graduated from Otay Ranch High School in 2018. Siena majors is Applied Mathematics and is thinking about minoring in Economics. After graduation, Siena plans on pursuing a career and travelling. Her hobbies include calligraphy, drawing in her sketchbook, listening to music, playing video games, and reading. She recently just started to get into exercising. Her favorite quote is from a Japanese comic called Hajime no Ippo. "Run until you can't run anymore, and then run again. Constant effort is life's greatest shortcut."
Kiana Malabanan is a passionate and hardworking young woman who strives to reach her full potential by constantly learning and setting/achieving goals. She graduated from Chula Vista High School in 2016. She majors in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in counseling and school psychology, communications, and psychology, and minors in cultural proficiency. Once she graduates she plans to attend graduate school for a degree in marriage/family therapy and become a marriage/family therapist. Her mission statement is, “I aspire to inspire, by spreading positivity and awareness for mental health, in order to help other individuals be the best that they can be, while living a healthy, strong, and thriving life.” In her free time, she enjoys spending quality time with her loved ones, attending music festivals and concerts, dancing, having photoshoots, learning about her culture, going to the beach, working out and shopping.
Naomi graduated from Sweetwater High School in 2016. She majors in interdisciplinary studies with a focus on criminal justice, psychology, and sociology. After graduation, she hopes to enroll in graduate school at SDSU and pursue a Masters in social work. Naomi is part of the rowing team at SDSU and volunteers her free time working with detaineeallies.org. She enjoys hiking, swimming, reading, and baking. My favorite quote is, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” - Gandhi
Gabriela is majoring in mechanical engineering with a bioengineering emphasis. Once graduated, she plans to attend UCSD’s Bioengineering Graduate Program and pursue a career in large-scale health industry efforts, such as hospital equipment and prosthetics. In her free time, Gabriela enjoys dancing, photography, and being around friends and family. A quote she loves is, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
Rafael graduated from Southwest High School in 2018. He majors in computer science and minors in Korean. He hopes to become a game developer in the near future. Rafael enjoys playing video games, reading fantasy books and playing American football. His favorite quote comes from the Roman poet Persius, "He who conquers, endures."
Valerie graduated from Eastlake High School in 2018. She is majoring in Microbiology and hopes to continue on to medical school upon graduation. Her hobbies include swimming, pian and shopping. A quote she stands by is "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The Important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein.