Cascadia Scholars Image

Cascadia Scholars Program


Our Mission

Cascadia Scholars Program is targeted to serve and assist historically underrepresented groups at Cascadia College to help students connect to the college and to their educational and career goals.

What Do We Offer?

Cascadia Scholars Program provides mentoring, resources, and support for BIPOC and underserved students. Scholarships are also available for those who qualify as well. The program works with these historically underrepresented groups to help connect educational goals to their academic and career journeys.

  • Mentorship
  • Scholarships
  • Celebrations and More

Who We Are


Erica Almeda - College and Career Foundations

Erica Almeda

Prior to joining Cascadia, Erica was a tenured faculty and Department Chair of the Bridge (Pre-College English) department at Edmonds Community College, where she taught basic skills and developmental English for 12 years. She had also taught at various community colleges in the Seattle and Los Angeles areas. Erica holds a Master of Education in Adult Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology/Biology from Western Washington University.

Victor H. Begay - American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Victor H. Begay

Navajo and his cultural history begins with his tribal clans: ÁshĮĮhíí (Salt People Clan), Táchii’nii (Red Running Into The Water People Clan), Naakaidine’é (Mexican Clan), and Kiyaa’áanii (Towering House People Clan). He is assistant professor and tribal liaison at Cascadia College.

Dr. Begay is a mentor and provides positive modeling and motivation through sharing of personal connections with traditional values and contemporary ideas. His research includes identity development, education policy, and American Indian students in off-reservation public schools. More specifically, he engages with tribal communities and school districts to design effective curriculum and secondary education policy grounded in tribal sovereignty.

Dr. Begay holds a PhD in education policy, a Master’s degree in education foundations, was a high school teacher, and has works with tribal, state, and federal education agencies. He is the youngest of six children and enjoys writing fiction and trail running

Chantal Carrancho - Student Learning

Chantal Carrancho

Dr. Chantal Carrancho, born and raised in Seattle, WA. Since 2012, she has been dedicated to working within the WA State College system, specifically in the Student Services area. Growing up in a traditional Filipino household, Dr. Carrancho witnessed firsthand the pursuit of the American dream by her immigrant parents and ancestors. These lived experiences coupled with her own journey navigating the college system have ignited a passion within her to effect positive change for future students.

Getachew Eshete - Biology

Getachew Eshete

Getachew Eshete was born in Ethiopia and attended graduate school in California before coming to Washington to teach biology at Cascadia College. He was the first in his family and one of the few from his community to graduate from a university. Getachew taught various courses in biological and environmental sciences at Cascadia and various academic institutions in the US and Ethiopia. Since he has interdisciplinary and international educational background and teaching experience, he thinks that he can easily connect with people of all backgrounds. His special passion is to support marginalized students who have the desire to bring positive change in their lives and communities. He appreciates that many of his educators, families, and friends have supported and shaped his life. Getachew strongly believes that students will be successful, regardless of the challenges they face, when they have the right mentors and friends on top of their perseverance and inquisitiveness for learning. When he is not teaching, Getachew enjoys spending his time walking outdoors and being with his wife and three children.

Azizeh Farajallah - Chemistry

Dr. Azizeh Farajallah, an immigrant from Palestine, began her education in ESL classes at North Seattle College (NSC). She subsequently gained a Bachelor in Science in 2000, a Master in Science in 2003 and a Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry in 2007 all from the University of Washington. She has taught all levels of Chemistry as an associate faculty at NSC, Everett Community College (EvCC) and Edmonds Community College (ECC). Azizeh worked with the RISE (Research based Interdisciplinary Science Education) program at NSC to bring Interdisciplinary Investigations (IDI) into the lab and classroom. She also served as a mentor to students in STEM. She uses her life story to inspire and guide students. She is committed to using strategies that facilitate student success of diverse groups and help students engage in skill development that goes beyond class, lab and field work.

Bryan Fauth - Student Advising & Support Services

Bryan Fauth

Bryan currently serves as the Director of Accessibility & Student Support Services at Cascadia College. Bryan has been at Cascadia for the past four years. Before moving to Washington, Bryan spent his whole life in the Bay Area. Growing up with a disability and living in near the birthplace of the Disability Rights Movement drove Bryan’s passion for supporting and removing barriers for disabled individuals. For the past decade, Bryan has devoted his career to supporting disabled students in a higher education environment. Bryan spends his free time with his wife and 3 year-old son. If he has a moment to himself, he loves going to the movies and eating a tub of popcorn by himself!

Michael Horn - Student Learning

Michael Horn

Michael is Cascadia's Director of Institutional Effectiveness, where he supports the "big picture" of college effectiveness, continuous improvement, strategic planning, accreditation, research and data reporting. Michael is also a volunteer mentor with Cascadia's Scholars program. His background is in program evaluation, data analytics, and process improvement. His past roles include WorkSource Performance Manager, IT Program Manager, Chief of Management Accountability and Performance with DSHS, and Assistant Dean at Seattle University. Michael is a Seattle native, Buddhist, and a life-long sailor. Fun Fact: Michael once sailed through the San Juan Islands in an old Hawaiian outrigger canoe. Michael welcomes anyone to stop by CC2-171 for a chat.

Raldy Mariano - International Program

Raldy Mariano

Raldy is a first-generation college graduate holding a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington and a master’s degree in International Relations from Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. He has over 12 years of professional experience including teaching English in Japan, athletic research at a hospital, and coordinating international student exchange programs at a non-profit educational organization. Most recently he worked for Costco’s International Division where he analyzed sales, logistics, and aided in the development of global products. Returning to higher education as International Programs Assistant Director of International Marketing, Raldy uses his knowledge and experiences to empower students to embrace their diversity as their greatest asset in their life journey. Along with spending time with his family and friends he loves to be outdoors, workout, and proactively seeks new knowledge from many areas of study.

Kira McBride - Enrollment Services

Kira McBride

Kira was born and raised in Washington State. She is a first-generation college graduate from both Cascadia College and the University of Washington Bothell and she studied Business Administration, but decided to pursue a career in higher education. Throughout her time as a student, Kira worked on campus. She started out working as the Vice President of Cascadia Student Government, then a Building Manager at the Activities and Recreation Center, then a Program Coordinator with Cascadia Outreach, to now the Admissions Specialist at Cascadia. Outside of work, Kira loves to read and listen to music.

Ifrah Mohamed - Human Resources

Ifrah Mohamed

Meet Ifrah, Director of Human Resources at Cascadia College. Her responsibilities include overseeing various HR functions, with a focus on recruitment and professional development. Ifrah is passionate about supporting employees and ensuring their success in the workplace. She holds two degrees from the University of WA Bothell in Community Psychology and Health Studies, enabling her to approach HR management uniquely.

Three Fun Facts About Ifrah:

  1. Raised in San Diego, CA
  2. Met Rosa Parks in the first grade.
  3. 12 Siblings & a twin.

Ericka Morales - Student Advising & Support Services

Ericka Morales

Ericka is an academic advisor at Cascadia College. She provides general advising to transfer students and works collaboratively with campus stakeholders to develop and implement focused interventions to address outcome and equity gaps within student achievement.

Ericka is very glad to have the opportunity to be part of the Cascadia Scholars mentoring program. She comes from southern California and is a first-generation college graduate from Washington State University with a B.A. in Sociology and in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish. While attending WSU, she was a multicultural student mentor and a McNair Scholar where she published her own research project. Ericka also had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Liverpool in England. She has experience working as a Washington State certified interpreter and as a substitute teacher. Ericka likes to travel, dance, sing, and learn new languages.

Fidely Navarro-Lopez - Student Advising & Support Services

Fidely Navarro-Lopez

Fidely was born in Mexico, raised in a few different states before settling in WA. She is a first generation, low-income, marginalized graduate of Cascadia College, and a current Central Washington University student pursuing a bachelors in interdisciplinary studies. For the last 10 years she has gone from student worker to a full-time employee at Cascadia, having worked in different departments, currently she is an academic advisor-guided pathway specialist. Her passion lies in working in higher education, where she believes a pathway to income equality and justice is possible through higher education. When she isn’t helping students, she enjoys spending time with her 8-year-old Terrier mix, Bandit, binging some good television; lots of different genres, and in the summer they both enjoy long walks and hikes in the beautiful PNW.

Tori Saneda - Anthropology

Tori Saneda

One September evening in 1991, I wandered into an anthropology seminar at the University of Toledo. I knew absolutely nothing about the subject and was not excited about one of the assigned textbooks, Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation (Buckley, T.C.T. and A. Gottlieb. 1988. Berkeley: University of California Press). Coming from a small, conservative, farming community in northwest Ohio, the mere title of the book challenged my lived experience at that time…we didn’t talk about menstruation, let alone read about it for a class! The seminar blew up my world and led me to where I am now—teaching anthropology at Cascadia College in Bothell, WA. My hope is that students have that same life altering experience in their college journey. In my classes, students not only learn about how anthropology describes the human experience, but practice how to use anthropological concepts and methodologies to understand their own and others lived experiences. I strive to make my courses accessible to all by employing various methods to present anthropological information and assess student learning. I encourage and expect academic rigor in students in both online and in face-to-face classes, to prepare them for upper division classes. But, I want students to enjoy their learning process.

Seraphine Shen-Miller - Psychology

Seraphine Shen-Miller

Dr. Seraphine Shen-Miller joined the faculty at Cascadia in Fall 2017. Prior to coming to Cascadia, she was an Associate Professor of Psychological Science at Belmont University in Nashville TN, and a full time faculty member at Highline College in Des Moines, WA. Dr. Shen-Miller earned bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and English from National Cheng-Chi University in Taiwan, and a masters and doctoral degree in Social/Personality Psychology from the University of Oregon. In her most recent research, she focuses on relations between human beliefs and values (e.g., belief in a just world, materialism), personal well-being, interpersonal relationships, and prosocial behaviors. While at Belmont University, she was one of four faculty mentors for students in the Pathways Scholarship Program, a National Science Foundation project aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in STEM. Dr. Shen-Miller’s primary mission is to engage students in all stages of research, and she regularly incorporates research into her class activities, leading in the past to students’ presentations at local and regional conferences.

Srividhya Venkatraman - Mathematics

Srividhya Venkatraman

Srividhya is a tenured Mathematics Professor and has served as a faculty liaison for tutoring and Supplemental learning at the Bock Center. She started her professional life as a Telecommunications Engineer in India and followed her passions of mathematics and teaching for over a decade now, here in Washington State. Srividhya also gives time to coach kids as a part of the North-South foundation and loves to read books, enjoy music, and hike, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Debra Waddell - Communication Studies

Debra Waddell

Debra Waddell is a full-time tenured faculty in Communication. She holds a Master’s Degree in Speech Communication with an emphasis on Intercultural Communication from the California State University at Fullerton, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California at Riverside. Before she came to Cascadia College as full-time faculty, Debra taught a variety of courses such as Public Speaking, Communication for Social Change, Intercultural Communication and Interpersonal Communication at various colleges in our area and in California at California State University San Bernardino, and at California State University Fullerton. Debra has a background in business and industry, has designed and taught Communication for Groups and Teams through Oregon Institute of Technology at Boeing, and has designed and facilitated trainings for Evergreen Hospice on diversity and end-of-life care. In 2019 she was awarded the Cascadia Excellence in Teaching Award for her work with students. Debra values building trust with students through listening and positive, encouraging communication. A member of several professional associations, she has been the Communications Director for the Community College group for the Western States Communication Association. Her areas of academic interest include advocacy, intercultural competence, health communication, and interpersonal conflict. A high energy person, when she is not working with students in the classroom she enjoys life, swimming, hiking, reading, and having fun cooking with friends and family.

Maia Wood - Human Resources

Maia Wood

I am a current HR Generalist here at Cascadia College. For my undergraduate, I attended Western Washington University and the University of Washington-Bothell graduating with a Bachelor in Arts in Psychology. During 2022-2023 academic year, I interned with the Cascadia Scholars Program and the Office of E&I to help support the programs. My goal now as a mentor is to support you during your time at Cascadia, whether your academic or professional journey, in any way I can!

How Do I Apply?

  • Before you begin your application, please check the Eligibility and Application Deadline below.
  • Eligibility
    • All Cascadia BIPOC and underserved students seeking a degree or certificate are welcome to apply
    • Registered/will be registered for at least 10 credits in the coming or current quarter at Cascadia College
    • GPA 2.0 and above
  • Apply

Quarter of Application

Application Opens

Application Priority Deadline

Application Deadline

Receive Decision

Autumn 2023

March 15, 2023

July 31, 2023

October 14, 2023

November 2023

Spring 2023

January 2, 2023

January 15, 2023

February 1, 2023

February 15, 2023

Maintain Eligibility

Once you are admitted to the program, we would like our scholars to:

  • Meet with your Cascadia Scholars Program mentor at least twice per quarter.
  • Meet with the Cascadia Scholars Program Lead every quarter.
  • Be consistently enrolled (10 credits/quarter).
  • GPA 2.0 and above.

Cascadia Scholars Scholarship

  • Overview: Established in 2021 thanks in part to Ms. Eva Gordon, the Cascadia Scholars award supports underserved and underrepresented students at Cascadia College.
  • The scholarship is for BIPOC and underserved students enrolled in the Cascadia Scholars Program at Cascadia College.
  • Qualifications:
    • Must plan to enroll in 10 or more credits in any quarter you plan to use your scholarship
    • Must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.
    • Students enrolled in the Running Start program for the 2021-22 academic year are not eligible.
  • Start Your Application

    • You accept all responsibility for any impact a Cascadia Scholars scholarship award may have on your financial aid package. Cascadia's Financial Aid Office will be informed of your receipt of this award.
    • Scholarship funds are released to student accounts after the last day to drop classes (10th day of the quarter). Your award has been reported to Student Financial Aid and will be credited to your account. However, your award may not be visible in your student account.
    • Cascadia Scholars Scholarship dollars will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
    • Students can reapply for a second disbursement, however, priority will be given to those who are new to Cascadia Scholars Program (entering Spring term) and have not yet received funds.

Quarter of Application

Application Opens

Application Priority Deadline

Application Deadline

Receive Decision

Autumn 2023

March 15, 2023

July 31, 2023

October 14, 2023

November 2023

Spring 2023

January 2, 2023

January 15, 2023

February 1, 2023

February 15, 2023

Contact & Hours