Shawn Ragan, MA (Ph.D. candidate)Vice President, Chief Operations Officer
Shawn Ragan began working with California Indian Nations College as an academic consultant in July 2019 before taking on his current role. Drawing on over two decades of non-profit and higher education experience, Shawn ensures the college stays in compliance with regulatory and accrediting agencies, tracks and analyzes institutional data to support CINC in serving our student population, lobbies legislators on behalf of the College and our students, and engages with other public and independent four-year colleges and universities to create a smooth transition for CINC students to a baccalaureate program. During his time in higher education, Shawn has been committed to challenging “traditional” systemic institutional structures that create obstacles for many of today’s students and to developing a holistic educational model that supports students in all facets of their educational career. Shawn is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Riverside (expected Fall 2020). His doctoral studies focus on the Roman Empire in periods of crisis and comparative empires and religions (Rome and China). In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, hike the neighboring mountains with his wife, camp with their two Australian Labradoodles, and support South Africa Springboks in Rugby Sevens. As a Nebraska native, he is an avid Cornhusker fan.
Randy Avila (Klamath-Modoc Tribes)Recruitment & Administrative Specialist
Randy (Howling Wolf) Avila is an enrolled member of The Klamath-Modoc Tribe. He is currently a student of California Indian Nations College. He has spent most of his life in the Coachella Valley and is very involved with the local tribes. Randy is an advocate for his community and participates in volunteer work. He believes that finding an outlet in sports can help Native youth become more involved and engaged in their community. He acts as an advocate, coach, and athletic coordinator in youth sports. He encourages Native youth to play sports and become involved in after-school programs because they are an easy way to be a part of the community, learn responsibilities, and learn time management. Randy’s goals are to lead Native youth in bringing out the best that they can be through their heritage, a positive attitude, and an enlightened mind. Randy has passed down his values to his children, the most important of which is: Elders pave the way to cultural awareness.
Marli BaccaExecutive Administrative Assistant to the Vice President
Marli Bacca is a local of the Coachella Valley and acts as the Executive Assistant to Vice President Shawn Ragan. With over 10 years of experience in professional office environments, and a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure situations, Marli skillfully manages administrative duties and client relations for Vice President Ragan.
As Executive Assistant to Vice President Ragan, she ensures the smooth operation of the day-to-day schedule and efficient handling of client inquiries, meetings, and timely responses to all inquiries as required.
In her spare time Marli enjoys baking and cooking with her fiancé, and as a true animal lover, spending time with her three dogs and her cat.
Joanna BlackstoneFinancial & Contracts Manager
Joanna Blackstone has worked in finance and Tribal Gaming for the last 15 years. She has worked in financial planning, audit and reconciliations, banking, and project management. Joanna has worked with numerous charitable organizations in the Coachella Valley and enjoys participating in community outreach activities. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, and traveling with her family. Joanna is excited to join the team and help CINC continue its commitment to its students and their communities.
Linda Cotton, MS PPSStudent Success Coordinator
Linda Cotton spent her childhood years in Oklahoma before moving to Redlands, California in her early teens. She has over 20 years of experience in Native Education. She originally worked with Kumeyaay students in the San Diego area before moving back to the San Bernadino/Riverside area where she worked for 19 years as an Instructional Liaison and Alternative Education Manager for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Linda holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services and a Master of Science degree both from the University of Phoenix. She also holds a Pupil Personnel Services credential from the University of Redlands. Linda has also been involved with the Intertribal Education Collaborative for the past 7 years. Linda brings a wealth of knowledge from every level of education as well as counseling and research skills. She is an advocate for education. Her passion is assisting students to overcome their obstacles in order to reach their goals.
Linda is the mother of 5 children, 3 daughters and 2 sons. She lives in Loma Linda with her husband, 2 sons, 5 cats and 2 dogs. She is an avid reader and loves to read books in her free time. Linda loves to be out in nature. She enjoys hiking and going to the beach. Linda is also a history lover and enjoys learning about the history and culture of different areas. She loves traveling and visiting museums. Linda loves learning and believes that there is always more to learn. One can never have too much knowledge.
Daniel Collister, MS (Ph.D. candidate)Institutional Researcher & Assessment Specialist
Daniel Collister received his M.S. in mathematics from California State University, Los Angeles. He is finishing his doctorate studies in population dynamics across heterogeneous domains at the University of California, Riverside. He is a fourth-generation teacher and has a 15-year background in math education. His experience as an instructor at the high-school, community college, state school and research institute levels has formed a classroom ethos centered on reversing math-traumas through human consideration. He believes firmly that mathematics is a human birthright shared by every person born, which is manifested in both his teaching and his outreach efforts.
Daniel has been hired as the Institutional Researcher and Assessment Specialist for California Indian Nations College. He worked as a specialist helping professors build education tools during the pandemic and has a background in technology-education integrations. He particularly enjoys dissecting communication breakdowns between education platforms and has unreasonable amounts of fun discussing coding challenges.
Outside of academics, Daniel is a surfer and a rock climber. He loves to scuba dive and is always happy with a good book to read. He plays guitar (not that well) and makes puzzles (not that difficult) and has two cats named Delta and Epsilon. Daniel has 3 sisters and multiple nieces and nephews. He is known amongst the younger generation as the “uncle that can help with Minecraft,” which he takes as the ultimate badge of honor.
AnnMaria De Mars, Ph.D.Academic Program Development Coordinator
Dr. AnnMaria Rousey De Mars earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from University of California, Riverside, MBA from the University of Minnesota and BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis. She began her career as an industrial engineer, loved the statistical analysis aspect of her job so much she returned to school for a doctorate specializing in applied statistics and psychometrics. After seven years as a full-time faculty member in North Dakota, where she assisted with the accreditation of Little Hoop Community College (now named Cankdeska Cikana Community College), she transitioned to entrepreneurship. She has founded or co-founded three companies and one non-profit foundation. Dr. De Mars is the Academic Programs Development Coordinator at California Indian Nations College, responsible for strengthening and growing our academic departments. She has four daughters, eight grandchildren, one extremely patient husband and a very large poodle. Dr. De Mars has been one of Forbes 40 women to watch over 40, an AARP Purpose Prize Fellow, International Game Developers Association Foundation Next Gen Leader and was the first American to win the world judo championships.
Roger Griffin, MA, MSRegistrar, Director of Enrollment Management
Roger Griffin joins California Indian Nations College from Boise State University, where he was the manager for academic advising, undergraduate programs. Roger has previously worked as the Native American outreach coordinator at CSUSB, and has been in education for more than 12 years. Roger has a B.A. in Liberal Arts, International Relations from Albion College, a M.A. in TESOL from CSUSB, and a M.S. in Global Studies & International Relations from Northeastern University. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in International Relations at Salve Regina University. When Roger has free time, he enjoys watching baseball, reading books on politics, history, international relations, and experiencing new cultures. He currently lives in Morongo Valley with his wife and chihuahuas. Roger is excited to join CINC because of the institution’s mission and focus on serving Native American communities and students. He would like to express his gratitude to the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, California Indian Nations College, and the local communities for the opportunity to join the institution and help support the goal of developing a tribal college in Southern California.
Courtney Hampton, MBAInterim Director of Admissions, Director of Adult Education
Courtney Hampton, a Palm Springs native, is California Indian Nations College Director of Adult Education and Communications Specialist. She holds a B.A. degree in Communication Studies and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Project Management. In addition to teaching all Business courses, Courtney comes with over 10 years’ experience in college and university settings. She brings a wide range of knowledge and skill sets both in operational management as well as student support specialist, advisor, coach and mentor in communicating with a diverse population of students. She is dedicated and committed to carrying out the overall college mission and helping each and every student accomplish their educational and career goals.
Ryan A. MarianoAdministrative Operations Manager
Ryan Mariano has worked in academia for the past five years and has experience working in higher education. He has done clerical work, administrative work, and event coordinating. Ryan is excited to embark in this new chapter in his life by joining the California Indian Nations College. Ryan hopes that he can being his expertise to help create an institution that will help students with their educational aspirations.
Sandra Morayla is local to the Coachella Valley. She has a long history of love for learning and reading. She graduated with her BA in History from California State University, San Bernardino with an emphasis in Native American Studies. Sandra’s dream has always been to work in academics, and she is committed to helping others reach their dreams in their scholastic journey by encouraging and aiding them in finding scholarships as well as helping them with essays for said scholarships. She also enjoys strengthening all underrepresented communities in academia.
Faith Morreo is a proud member of the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Tribe of Southern California. Serving her Tribe, non-profit organizations, tribal programs, and private sector in various capacities for the past 25+ years she is honored to serve as the Recruitment and Outreach Specialist. Faith is a graduate of College of the Desert with two Associates of Arts Degree programs in Business Administration and Liberal Arts with emphasis in Arts, Humanities and Communication. She is primarily responsible for recruitment and outreach. This includes creating partnerships to continue the success of CINC in providing unique opportunities in education. Faith is also a cultural preservationist, teaching Desert Cahuilla language within the local tribal communities. Please reach out to her if you have any questions about enrollment and outreach event
Martie Pablo (Morongo)Elder in Residence
Míyaxwe’ ‘umun ‘émem
(Greetings to you all)
Né nétew Martie
(My name is Martie)
Pén né hén Málkinga
(And I am from Morongo)
CINC has given me an amazing opportunity. I am now your Elder in Residence. I will be part of Student Affairs, as well as Student Services. I’m looking forward to my time here at CINC. I’ll definitely see you around the campus.
Ronson SouzaAcademic Advisor
Ronson Souza was born and raised in the small towns of Kailua and Hilo, Hawai’i. He relocated to the Coachella Valley in 2014 in search of adventure and affordable education. As a first-generation college student, he relied heavily on academic advisors to understand graduation requirements. Thanks to the assistance of passionate educators, he graduated from College of the Desert with an Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology. He then transferred to California State University, Los Angeles, where he graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a certificate from the Honors College. Thanks to his education, Ronson has gained experience working in Tribal government and providing crisis intervention to at-risk populations. Ronson is dedicated to assisting students in navigating the hidden curriculum of higher education.
When he is not at work, Ronson can be found in Irvine eating Korean BBQ, watching movies, scouring public libraries for new books to read, or curled up on the couch with his 13-year-old German Shepherd.
Regina Vasquez (Díne)Fundraising & Grants Associate
Regina Vasquez is from the Díne Nation. She is Bitter Water Clan born for Red House Clan. Her maternal grandfather is Salt People Clan and her paternal grandfather is Water’s Edge Clan.
Currently, she is both a student and a staff member for the California Indian Nations College as the Fundraiser & Grants Associate in the Development Department. With her experience in technology and the desire to learn, she has a passion to help in anyway possible. Her goal is to be an integral part of grants and fundraising for the college and for the students’ future.
On the personal side, she has been married to Paul Vasquez for 23 years and has 4 children and 1 grandchild. It is through the success of her children that has given her the push to go back to school and get a degree. With all her children being adult children, any spare time is given to crafts and volunteer work.
Please feel free to get to know our soon-to-be graduate and new hire!
Adolfo VelazquezDirector of Development
Adolfo Velazquez, a Coachella Valley native, sits as the Director of Development with California Indian Nations College. He holds a double bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Sociology and Anthropology as well as a master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from CSUSB. He brings over five years of community and government relations, as well as economic development and grant writing experience to the college. Adolfo has worked with many local and state level governmental offices and non-profits in the past with an emphasis on contract management and fundraising. He is determined to bring continued success and the well-deserved community recognition to the mission of CINC and the resiliency of the student body. On his free time, one can find Adolfo at his family’s date farms, testing new BBQ recipes on the grill, or working with friends on classic cars.
Ronald A. Stewart, Ph.D.Professional Consultant
Ronald A. Stewart holds a Doctorate in Organizational Behavior Studies, Leadership & Philanthropy from The Union Institute and University, a Master of Nonprofit Organizations from Case Western Reserve University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communications from Kent State University.
Among the hallmarks of Dr. Stewart’s consultation work within the private, nonprofit, and public sectors are his tailored, practical solutions for organizations, staff, and volunteers. His services include a wide array of capacity building interventions such as training, executive coaching, executive search, board development, planning, evaluation, discussion facilitation, and fundraising.
A native of rural southeastern Ohio, Dr. Stewart is keenly aware of the need to engage young people, especially those from Appalachia, in the consideration of contemporary global issues and to encourage their participation in the delivery of local and global solutions inspired by these increased awarenesses. In 2010, Dr. Stewart established the Ronald A. Stewart Fund for International Study and Service at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences to award qualified students with scholarship assistance so that they may engage in study and service around the globe.