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About Us

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Established in 2001, the Student Center for Academic Achievement (SCAA) is a university-wide comprehensive learning center serving and employing students from all colleges. The SCAA serves as a one-stop-shop for academic support services on the third floor of the CORE Building. SCAA provides academic skills coaching as well as subject tutoring and writing tutoring for courses across the curriculum. Additionally, the SCAA offers embedded, collaborative support through its Writing Associates (WA), Supplemental Instruction (SI), and Peer Academic Coaching (PAC) programs.

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 visit the SCAA Impact webpage to learn more about our assessment and evaluation processes and to view 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, Tutoring 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, Online Writing Lab (OWL) Coordinator

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 has been a continuous member of SCAA staff since 2008. She is currently the coordinator for the Online Writing Lab (OWL) and the SCAA's Tutoring program, and she actively supports the Reception Team.

Headshot of Sara Schupack

Sara Schupack, Writing Tutor Programs Coordinator (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 Virginia Davis

Virginia Davis - Subject Tutoring Coordinator (she/her)

Virginia joined the SCAA team in the fall of 2022, bringing with her tutoring experience across various courses in Kinesiology and Biology. Currently, she is in pursuit of a Master's degree in Kinesiology at East Bay, a journey that commenced after her successful completion of her Bachelor's degree in the spring of 2023. She harbors dreams of becoming a professor, with a particular interest in specializing within the realms of Biomechanics or Exercise Physiology. When not too busy with academics, she enjoys playing tennis, reading mystery novels, and taking her dogs on walks/adventures.
This is a headshot of SCAA graduate coordinator Mahesh with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Mahesh Mokale - Subject Tutoring 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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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 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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