Meet the STAR Staff

STAR: Meet the STAR Staff

Saundra D. Cooley, Director

In May of 2016, I was hired as the new Director of the S.T.A.R. program at AVC. I am a graduate of Jacksonville State University located in a small town in East Alabama. I first started working with college students while attending graduate school at JSU as a Resident Hall Director. At that point I discovered my love for working with students and encouraging them to continue their education. During my career in higher education, I worked at Talladega College as the Director of the Grants and Contracts office. In this position I managed the Department of Education’s Student Support Services, Upward Bound and McNair Trio programs. Also, served as the Vice-President of the Office of Institutional Advancement, where I was instrumental in developing funds to support the college’s mission of providing a quality education to its students. I have found, that obtaining an education can open up opportunities to work in a field that you have a true passion for. As the S.T.A.R. Director, it my goal to help steer you in the direction of meeting your life goals; by providing additional services to 1st generation, low income, and/or disabled students.

Stephanie Mattila, Counselor

Hi. My name is Stephanie Mattila and I am the Counselor here at STAR Program. I am here to introduce you to the services our program offers, to work with you on clarifying your educational goals, as well as to come alongside you as you work through your educational plan. My door is always open if you have questions or concerns. As a first generation college student and a returning, adult learner, I know what it’s like to navigate the college experience, and I hope that I can offer the help and support you need to stay the course and reach your goals.

Sara Stanton, Administrative Assistant 

I am Sara Stanton and I began working with STAR in September 2005.  I have worked at Antelope Valley College since fall semester of 1998 in various departments of Student Services and hope that I can be a resource to students in the STAR program. As the youngest of eleven children and a first generation college student, I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and gaining insight from your experiences as well. Congratulations to Sara who was recently reclassified as the STAR Administrative Assistant because of her committment and dedication to the program and it's participants!!!

Student Peer Tutors:

 Mark Bender-Whitaker: I’m a last year student at Antelope Valley College, as an Electrical Engineering major. I have served as a Math tutor for the STAR program for almost two years and enjoy sharing my love for math with program participants. 

Hector Ramirez: Is a new student worker and serves as a Math tutor for the STAR program. 

Gloria Larios:  Is the newest member of  the team and serves as an English peer tutor for the STAR program. 


Last updated: March 21, 2018