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About Us

SCAA logo, decorative image

Since 2001, the California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) Student Center for Academic Achievement (SCAA) has provided content tutoring for writing across the curriculum, and for a number of math, statistics, and science courses. Additionally, the SCAA offers embedded, collaborative support through its Writing Associates and Supplemental Instruction (SI) programs. The SCAA welcomed Peer Academic Coaching to its list of service offerings in 2023.

SCAA Mission

The mission of the Student Center for Academic Achievement (SCAA) is to provide CSUEB students with individual and collaborative learning opportunities within an inclusive environment fostering independent growth. The SCAA strives to cultivate adaptability, self-direction, and self-confidence through peer-to-peer support programs. SCAA services help students set achievable goals, develop academic skills, and improve subject comprehension.

SCAA Vision

The SCAA provides all CSUEB students with an inviting and intellectually-stimulating learning environment that fosters curiosity, independence, and critical thinking.  

SCAA Values

  • Collaboration
  • Progress
  • Commitment
  • Belonging

SCAA Core Functions

  1. Subject-specific academic support
  2. Writing skills development
  3. Foundational academic skills development
  4. Quality professional development and growth opportunities
  5. Collaborative cross-campus engagement efforts

Our Impact

The SCAA team is committed to providing impactful academic support services to the CSUEB community. Please contact the SCAA Director, Rachel Brunson, for more information about our assessment and evaluation processes or our impact reports.

SCAA Director

This is a photo of the SCAA Director Rachel against a grey stone wall.

Rachel Brunson (she/her)

Rachel joined the SCAA team in June 2022 with over a decade of experience in learning assistance / academic support services. Rachel completed her Bachelors degree in English from Notre Dame de Namur University, where she also served as a student writing tutor. She went on to graduate from the University of San Francisco (USF) in 2013 with a Master of Arts in Higher Education & Student Affairs. Rachel is currently working towards a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, and traveling with family and friends.

Contact Rachel

SCAA Coordinators

This is a photo of the Peer Academic Coaching coordinator, Marissa.

Marissa Damphousse, Peer Academic Coaching Coordinator (she/her)

Marissa has been at CSU East Bay since 2013 after graduating with her Masters in Counseling Psychology. She is passionate about supporting students in their personal and academic growth and loves the mentor relationship of working with student leaders. Marissa is excited to have Peer Academic Coaching join the family of the SCAA and become part of the CORE. Outside of work, she enjoys time with her family, watching her one year old discover new things, hiking, cooking, knitting, snuggling her dogs and traveling.
Headshot photo of Brandon Everett, the Administrative Support Coordinator

Brandon Everett, Administrative Support Coordinator (he/him)

Brandon works closely with the reception staff, coordinates the SCAA’s administrative operations - including appointment facilitation - as well as overseeing various marketing and outreach efforts for the SCAA. He has a Master’s degree in English and a Bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing, with over five years of writing tutor experience and over ten years of administrative experience in and out of the university system. Brandon is a published author of a novel, a short story collection, and various other publications in literary journals, including The Chabot Review and Livina PressHis interests include the cinema and film theory, all things Stephen King, M. Night Shyamalan’s entire filmography, reading anything paranormal, supernatural, or of the noir-crime-thriller vein, and of course, writing.
Headshot of June Mertens-Barber

June Mertens-Barber, Coordinator of the Online Writing Lab (OWL) and eTutoring

While obtaining her English Literature Bachelor’s degree and then pursuing a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages), June tutored writing at the SCAA. Now, as a member of SCAA staff, she is the coordinator for the OWL (Online Writing Lab) and the eTutoring program. She likes to visit her daughter and grandchildren during her vacations.

Headshot of Sara Schupack

Sara Schupack, Coordinator for the Writing Tutor Programs (she/her)

Sara is responsible for overseeing matters relating to the Writing Tutor and Writing Associates programs. She has always cared about writing, having kept a journal since second grade and teaching English for many years before studying education and coming back to California and writing tutoring. Her interests include film as literature, creative nonfiction, and crime stories.
Headshot photo of Matthew Tener, the SI Coordinator

Matthew Tener, Supplemental Instruction Coordinator (he/him)

Matthew joined the SCAA in 2021. He previously oversaw comprehensive learning support and regional Academic Preparation/Early Assessment Program outreach programming for the California State University Maritime Academy from 2015 to 2021, and instructed academic writing and supported the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at the University of the Pacific from 2012 to 2015. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University, Sacramento in 2008 and Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of the Pacific's Benerd School of Education in 2012. Additionally, he received his SI Supervisor Training certificate at the International Center for Supplemental Instruction in 2019.

SCAA Graduate Assistants

Headshot of Namrata Dhungana

Namrata Dhungana - Science Coordinator (she/her)

I am an international student from Nepal and a current graduate student in the department of Biological Sciences. I am conducting a research on a metastatic breast cancer cell line (MDA) with Dr. Kenneth Curr. I am learning about a protein within the MDA cells that may be an autophagy marker of these cells and may be a potential targeted therapy for breast cancer. I have been working as a Science Program Coordinator here at SCAA since August 2022 and I have experienced many increments in terms of my self- confidence, public speaking, professionalism and leadership. I have been awarded as the Highest Level CSR Scholar at the Center for Student Research on campus. As a Science Program Coordinator, I am fully dedicated to assisting and training our peer leaders at SCAA and helping them find and grab all the opportunities that are available on campus that can help them achieve their academic goals.
This is a headshot of SCAA graduate coordinator Mahesh with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Mahesh Mokale - Math & Stats Coordinator and Data Analyst (he/him)

Mahesh is a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in Computer Science with a passion for technology, innovation, and a particular fascination for Tesla cars and SpaceX. Hailing from India, he is dedicated to exploring the realms of Computer Science and creating innovative solutions that push the boundaries of this dynamic field. Mahesh's journey in Computer Science commenced during his early years when he discovered his fascination with programming languages. Since then, he has embarked on an incessant pursuit of knowledge and growth, consistently pushing the boundaries of his capabilities.

Beyond his academic pursuits, Mahesh is a multi-talented individual with a flair for the arts. When he's not immersed in his studies, he indulges in a variety of tech-related hobbies. He enjoys watching autocar shows, eagerly anticipating Apple events, and keeping up with the latest in the tech world through various tech events. His tech-savvy nature is not only a hobby but a way of life, as he constantly seeks to stay updated with the ever-evolving landscape of technology. His affinity for Tesla cars and SpaceX's revolutionary endeavors speaks to his profound interest in groundbreaking innovations. Guided by the belief that continuous learning is the key to success, Mahesh consistently seeks innovative ways to expand his skill set and stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.

SCAA Lead Employees

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Virginia Davis (she/her) - Subject Tutor Lead

Major: Kinesiology

Hometown: Oakley, CA

I joined the SCAA team as a tutor Fall 2022, and tutored various courses in Kinesiology and Biology. I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Kinesiology here at East Bay, after completing my Bachelor’s in Spring 2023. I am looking forward to meeting new students and getting to know them while helping them focus on their coursework. A piece of advice for students is to start studying for your courses early and don’t wait until the day before your test to start. Outside of school I enjoy playing tennis, reading mystery books, and taking my dogs on trips/walks.

A photo of a person wearing a black and red shirt and glasses

AJ Mercado (he/him) - Writing Tutor Lead

Major: Health Science

Hometown: San Leandro, CA

I started working at the SCAA as a writing tutor in January 2021 and added on the role of lead employee in December of that same year. Throughout my tenure, I have worked in unison with Sara and June, mentoring new writing tutors and facilitating group activities and meetings. It is both a joy and passion to serve the East Bay community through the SCAA writing program, providing assistance in any writing assignment students may have. In my free time, you can find me at events hosted by the Pilipinx American Student Association (PASA), or at the Recreation Center working out and playing basketball with friends!
A photo of a person smiling wearing a white shirt

Kyleigh Range (she/her) - SI Program Lead

Major and Minor: Biological Science with a concentration in Microbiology and Biomedical Lab Science and a minor in Chemistry.

Hometown: Manteca, California

I advise CSUEB students to attend their professor's office hours! Utilize your professors as much as possible to be a successful student and eventual college graduate. They are available to provide help in courses as well as guidance in future career paths. I'm looking forward to connecting with students as well as other SI Leaders as an SCAA lead this semester. I want to build a community that fosters collaborative learning and is enjoyable and beneficial to the student body. As well as being a staff member at the SCAA, I am also a member of the Excel program here on campus and an avid supporter of the CSU East Bay Bay Dolls. Outside of school, I love to read (fiction particularly) and go to the cinema! 

A photo of a person wearing a purple shirt and a white sweater in front of a staircase

Danrene Testado (she/her) - Reception Team Lead

Major: Business Administration, Human Resources and Organizational Behavior

Hometown: San Diego, CA

As a SCAA Lead, I am most excited to see students take their first few steps in the right direction to seek assistance in areas they may be struggling in. I am excited to help be an ambassador for the SCAA within my classes, organization, and other spaces on campus. I am excited to see students succeed in their academics and feel more in control of their education. I am the President of a campus organization called PASA, the Pilipinx American Student Association. This organization has provided me with a family away from home and so many leadership and growth opportunities throughout my college career. I encourage students to find their place on campus outside of their academics to find a sense of sociability and belonging! In my free time I enjoy reading, catching up with my family and friends, and listening to music. My advice to any student here at CSU East Bay is to ask questions, take chances, and just be you! Everyone is here to learn and grow as a scholar, a professional, and as an individual. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

  • "The SCAA has some of the best views on campus, looking out over San Francisco Bay. The space is filled with sunlight, but more important to us is the enlightenment exchanged between our tutors and tutees." - Dr. John Wenzler, Dean of the Libraries
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