Celeste R. Townsend
T. Robert Przeklasa, Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
T. Robert “Dr. Bob” Przeklasa has been with California Indian Nations College since the early planning stages. He serves as the Vice President of Academic Affairs, focusing on all aspects of the College’s academics. Dr. Bob ensures course offerings are ready for each coming term while building towards eventual accreditation and securing partnerships with local colleges and universities. He has worked closely with Southern California tribal communities and organizations through his academic research on the political history of the local Indian Country. Przeklasa received his doctorate in Native American History from the University of California, Riverside in 2015 and serves as a board member of the Native American Land Conservancy.
Recruitment, Enrollment, and Admissions Manager
Daisy Ocampo is here to support student success! Her community outreach builds positive relationships with various local tribes to create education opportunities for Native students. She is the primary point of contact to inquire about class offerings, registration, financial aid, textbook purchases, Disability Services, and transcript reviews. Daisy is from the Caz’ Ahmo Nation from the state of Zacatecas in Mexico and grew up in her community in Los Angeles. She moved to Riverside, CA to pursue a college career and is now is a Doctoral Candidate in the UCR History Department. Daisy is passionate about transforming education to increase Native student representation in higher education. Upon meeting Theresa Mike and learning of her educational vision for a tribal college, Daisy became a Founding Member of the California Indian Nations College.
Ryan A. Mariano
Administrative Operations Specialist
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.
Nicholas Rajen- Diné, B.S Physics, M.S. Materials Science and Engineering
Nic joined the CINC team in the fall of 2017. His current work focuses on conservation and empowerment of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, with an emphasis towards social-environmental sustainability. Nic is Kinyaa’áanii Diné and Oneida Iroquois, and found his way to the beautiful California desert from Albuquerque New Mexico. He spent several years working in materials science labs, researching computational physics, and organizing Indigenous science, education, ecology, and art conferences.
Clifford Trafzer, a distinguished professor in UCR’s history department, is the recipient of the Western History Association’s 2018 American Indian Lifetime Achievement Award. Trafzer, who also holds the university’s Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, was presented with the award during the association’s annual conference, held this year in San Antonio from Oct. 17-20. Awarded by election since 1997, the honor recognizes both its recipient’s body of research and commitment to mentoring the next generation of Native American scholars to advance the study of American Indian history.
Trafzer earned his doctorate in American history, with a focus on Native American history, from Oklahoma State University in 1973. He was an Instructor at Arizona Western College (taught History and Pol Sc/Government) and taught at Navajo Community College (today it is Díne College in Tsaile, AZ) in the Department of Navajo Culture and History. He joined UCR’s faculty in 1991 and has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including a trio about American Indian educational experiences at schools such as Riverside’s Sherman Institute, now known as Sherman Indian High School. He said one of his crowning achievements involved co-editing “Native Universe: Voices of Indian America,” a book released by National Geographic in 2004 in conjunction with the grand opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.
In addition to teaching and publishing, Trafzer has served as director of UCR’s California Center for Native Nations and on the statewide California Native American Heritage Commission. As a longtime member of the committee to establish a permanent California Indian Heritage Center in Sacramento, he has spent more than a decade advocating for the project, which would include a museum, library, curation center, and cultural spaces positioned at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers to represent the history and culture of California tribes.