Meet the Office of Equity Programs Team! 

Office of Equity Programs Team PictureAt the office of Equity Programs, we belive that teamwork makes the dream work. We enjoy working to help all students at Hartnell College and welcome all of you into our vitual office space! 


Picture of Adriana ChavezHi! I am Adriana, a first generation college student, born and raised in the Salinas Valley (South County). My mother and father are migrant farmworkers who did not have any formal schooling beyond a second grade education in Mexico. Despite their limited educational opportunities and even though they could not help us academically, we understood that education was valued and a priority in their humble home.  

Because of the support from my family, I am a proud Hartnell College Alumni who later transferred to UC Davis where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Development.  After graduation, I worked teaching in the K-12 and later had my first opportunity as a Career Counselor with Monterey County. While working at the county, I knew I was passionate about counseling and returned to college for my Masters in Counselor Education at San Jose State. While working on my Masters, I was a non-traditional student; managing full-time work, a family and a long commute.  This experience reminded me that students come from different backgrounds and walks of life, and our journey’s may not always look the same or be easy! I am very excited to be a part of Hartnell College and look forward to meeting you soon (virtually for now)!  Please know that you are not alone during this time!  I would like to encourage you to reach out to me if you simply want to talk!  We are here to support you in any way possible!

When not working, I enjoy time being outdoors and spending time with my family!

“Look for something positive each day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.” (B. Ford)


Hola, Hola! 

Hi and welcome to my bio!

I have been a part of the Salinas community since my mother and I immigrated to the United States in the year 2000 from Mexico City. I am a proud product of the beautiful East Salinas. My academic journey has not been easy but I have always grown up with the idea that education is the key to success. (My success at least.) Having graduated from Alisal High School and attending Cal State Fullerton right out of high school, I discovered that the education system was not set up for a student like me with so many inequities. Nonetheless, I decided to come home and attend Hartnell. (Back in the day, Hartnell was not an option for many)

Hartnell has been my home for many years and it has taken me a really long time to find my path but through it all Hartnell gave me many opportunities and skills to make my own path. My passion for Hartnell and helping others like myself is such that I became an Office of Equity Programs team member in 2016. Since then I have held many roles such as Student Worker, Substitute Program Assistant, Communications Specialist for the Catalyst Project, and now I serve as the permanent Program Assistant. 

Aside from my work at Hartnell, I also am a senior at San Jose State University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations. (Sadly, I’ll have a COVID graduation) I am very excited to finish my schooling after a very, very long time (and many major changes.) When I am not virtually in school and work, I enjoy the beach and the many hiking trails in the area. I love to watch movies and listen to music. I also enjoy spending time with my loved ones, practicing self-care, and mindfulness. 

I look forward to continuing serving my community and being a resource to all at Hartnell. 

Stay Safe and Healthy!


Picture of Chynna Obana

Mabuhay! [Welcome!]

I have been with the Hartnell family for the past year; thank you for everyone welcoming me into this community!

Previously, I was working at NASA Ames Research Center as the Internship Program Coordinator. My work experience includes working in student programs, career, and academic advising for various 4-year universities on the west and east coast. As a former first-generation college student, I am passionate about helping underrepresented students achieve their goals and persist through college. I come from an immigrant family and was raised in San Diego, CA. I received my bachelor's degree in Sociology from UCLA (GO BRUINS!) and my master's degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park. In my spare time (when I'm not shelter-in-place) I like going to the beach, traveling, and trying new cuisines – I’m on the hunt for the BEST ice cream so any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Picture of Chynna with Dr. Ellen Ochoa

I've been lucky enough to meet some amazing and inspirational people in my life. I met the first Hispanic woman to go to space, Dr. Ellen Ochoa.

gricel Briseño's picture

Hola! I’m Gricel Briseño, my pronouns are: she, her, ella. I am a first-generation Mexican American college graduate, native from Imperial Valley County, and a delighted Monterey County community member for 10+ years and counting.

My educational journey began late into adulthood, but nonetheless, it did not stop me from completing the goals I had in mind for myself. I graduated from Hartnell College in 2015 with an Associate in Arts for Transfer in Sociology (AAT-SOC) and successfully transferred and completed CSUMB’s Social and Behavioral Sciences; Sociology BA program in 2017. I must admit that the path was challenging but ultimately very rewarding! #sisepuede

After completing my education, I worked at Kinship Center, a non-profit adoption/foster agency as a
Relief Counselor, Customer Service Representative, and lastly a Senior Administrative Assistant. In these roles I had the opportunity to serve a variety of executives and departments to fulfill mission-driven work towards building loving families for children in the Central Coast.

Lastly, being a sociology undergrad; and currently in a human behavior master’s program, I’ve developed a cultured sense on how systems impact individual behavior and identities. With this understanding, I’m able to practice mindfulness towards anyone’s stance, analysis, or agenda aside from my own design. With this passion and experience, I am happy to come back to Hartnell College as a Program Assistant for the Salinas Valley Promise (Office of Equity Programs) to assist others with their educational goals.

Fun Facts: #1 Seinfeld fan, I love sandwiches and soups, and I collect cookbooks (old and new).

 Picture of Miriam Vazquez-Gonzalez

My name is Miriam Vazquez-Gonzalez, and I have been at Hartnell College for five years.  I am the daughter of Mexican immigrant parents who immigrated to the United States in 1985 with the “Sueno Americano” of providing their family with a mejor futuro.  I am a Salinas native and a graduate of Everett Alvarez High School.  I obtained my Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, from California State University, Monterey Bay in 2007.  When I am not at work, I love spending time with my family, watching the Golden State Warriors play and I also like to spend time crafting with my children.  

I am proud to work with students and want to make sure you know I am here para apoyarte a ti.  I admire your resilience and the motivation you have to jump over all the hoops and challenges that come across your way.  I look forward to meeting you (virtually for now).  

Con Admiración y Respeto 



Picture of Nereida Oliva

I  was born in Salinas, CA and grew up in Gonzales, CA with my very supportive Mexican immigrant parents and two sisters. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree from CSUMB and a M.Ed. and PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah. I  have worked with diverse student populations in various K-16 educational settings. I enjoy working with and supporting students on their individual educational path through support services or teaching. 

My approach to and passion for  working with students is driven by my own experiences of being a first- generation Chicana, and my family and community experiences. I teach Ethnic Studies and  Sociology courses at Hartnell and I am also part of the Office of Equity Student Programs Team where I provide support services to students. 

When not working, I enjoy spending time with loved ones and friends.