Aggie Jumpstart

Aggie JumpstartAggie Jumpstart is a new College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES) program created to promote inclusive academic excellence and student success through community building, leadership and advising.  In partnership with the Retention Initiatives and the Internship and Career Center, Aggie Jumpstart works to address barriers for first-generation, low-income and underserved students and provides students a network of UC Davis staff, faculty and other campus communities. You’ll connect with CA&ES academic advisors, Career Discovery Group (CDG) classmates, and staff from various campus centers to have fun and:

Aggie Jumpstart students say...

"The academic advising helped me a lot, I was able to get so many questions answered."
Carolina L., International Agriculture

"AJS program is good at providing academic advising to their students and showing them the resources they can reach out to on campus. Being part of Aggie Jumpstart has been a great opportunity because I feel supported and not alone. I was able to understand where I can go to ask for help or how to find my community. I would recommend this program to all first-generation students." 
Estefania R., Human Development

  • get to know other new UC Davis students
  • connect one-on-one with a CA&ES academic advisors, two-three times per quarter, 
  • meet new people and engage with others from campus community centers
  • develop your leadership skills, and 
  • receive quarterly rewards in recognition of your participation in the program. 

Join us and get a successful jumpstart on your college experience. Contact us to learn more information. 

Meet the Aggie Jumpstart Staff

Lili BynesWhen I went to college I had mixed emotions. I thought I could handle it all on my own but also felt overwhelmed by the entire "college thing". It was hard at times navigating my experiences as a Latina first generation college student. It helped once I got connected to campus resources and I created a circle of people to guide and support me on campus. As an advisor in the Aggie Jumpstart program I am excited to be a part of that journey for students who might be experiencing a similar transition to college. Lili Bynes, Aggie Jumpstart Academic Advisor


Honora KnoppWhen I started college, I felt like a tiny turtle in a big pond. I lived far away from home so I needed to create a community for myself and I wasn’t always sure how. One thing that made a big difference for me was developing great relationships with my faculty and academic advisors. This helped build my confidence to get involved on campus and make new friends. I look forward to getting to know you through the Aggie Jumpstart program and supporting you as you create your community at UC Davis. –Honora Knopp, Aggie Jumpstart Academic Advisor


Lina MendezNobody else gets to walk in your shoes but you. Yet, we all come to this space to learn, grow, mature and ultimately walk that stage. We are here for you as a resource to help you navigate this space and as mentors to help encourage you to finish. It brings me so much joy to play a role in Aggie Jumpstart and be a part of your educational trajectory here at UC Davis.  Lina Mendez, Ph.D. Director, Center for Chicanx and Latinx Academic Student Success




BellaI am currently a 3rd year at UC Davis and I am a first generation student. Getting to college is a journey on its own and once you are here it is a whole new adventure. I used to think that being first generation meant I was disadvantaged but over the past 2 years I realized it is what drives me to be the best version of myself. Each person has their own experiences that shaped who they are but here we will unite to create a success story for you, me, our families, and the world in which we will impact after we get these degrees. Aggie Jumpstart is here to provide a space for all of us to grow together. Welcome to UC Davis, we got this. –Bella, CA&ES Peer Advisor


Leslie PeekWhen I came to UC Davis I was excited to start College, but soon became overwhelmed by the huge institution that it can be. My Chemistry class was bigger than my entire high school and I felt invisible in the crowd of super smart people. I started small, building my network of support with a few people whom I trusted and then found the support I was looking for, which led me to my career in Student Affairs. As a career advisor and student affairs practitioner, I strive to support students in their transition to college in whatever capacity is needed. I am excited to be a part of Aggie Jumpstart where we will be building community and finding that sense of belonging. –Leslie Peek, Senior Career Advisor, Internship and Career Center


Corrine HawesDon’t be afraid to ask for help! We are all a little lost sometimes and one of the best skills to develop is how to ask for help. Asking for help is how I built relationships with my mentors in college and their help went a long way. We are here to support you! –Corrine Hawes, Student Leadership Program Coordinator



Greg AndersonWhen I first got to college, it seemed so massive and I wasn’t sure how I was going to find my place. Those first couple of months were scary! But finding my community, getting involved, and connecting with resources made a huge difference in my college experience! I am so excited to work with you over the course of this year and to support you to have the college experience that you have envisioned for yourself. –Greg Anderson, Academic Advisor



Marinka SwiftWhen I was an undergraduate, I found inspiration and a sense of belonging through connections with peers, staff, and faculty. Find communities that make you happy and that inspire you! As a first-gen student, I remember doubting my knowledge and capacity to thrive in college. My communities helped me to recognize my tenacity and always helped me to feel and know that I belonged - that I had worked hard and could do hard things. Let's be real - college is pretty weird. It can feel confusing and overwhelming and like there's some secret rule book that everyone else has. Let your Aggie Jumpstart community support you through this exciting journey! I'm here to help you reach your goals, cheer you on, answer questions, and demystify this whole 'college thing'. You're not in this alone. You can reach your goals and be the scholar you want to be without losing yourself along the way. We’re in this together! –Marinka Swift, Aggie Jumpstart and Community Coordinator


Michelle Villegas-FrazierAs a first generation student, she has worked on this campus for students for 25 years. She is passionate about providing access and opportunities for all students and helping students develop their individual success plans. The Aggie JumpStart program will be a positive factor in this development. –Michelle Villegas-Frazier, Director, Native American Retention Initiative and Native American Academic Student Success Center