Meet our team! Reach out to the admission officer for your area. 

Collins House
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Phone: (323) 259-2700


Maricela Martinez '23

Maricela L. Martinez (she/her)

Vice President of Enrollment 

Students I work with: First-year applicants from San Francisco. 

Languages spoken: English and Spanish 

Bio: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Maricela originally joined the Occidental Admission team in 2001, having begun her career in admissions while completing her undergraduate degree in Art History and Latin American Studies at Wellesley College. Maricela has also worked for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Institutional Research department and holds a master's degree from Harvard University. Prior to her return to Occidental, she served as an associate director of admission at Scripps College. Maricela is responsible for Occidental's enrollment, including overseeing admission and financial aid. In her free time, she enjoys exploring independent coffee shops in the surrounding neighborhoods and going on hikes with her family.


Charlie Leizear '23

Charlie Leizear (he/him)

Executive Director of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, MS, NJ, NY, NC, PA, SC, TN, and WV

Bio: Charlie grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, then headed to Washington, D.C. to attend The George Washington University (GW) with grand aspirations to become a jet-setting diplomat. Charlie quickly learned that he was ill-suited for a lifetime in politics (taking a sharp turn to pursue a degree in statistics), and instead was able to realize his dreams by working in international admission at his alma mater. After completing his MBA in GW's School of Business, Charlie briefly worked for a small university in Switzerland and then managed international admission at Haverford College before arriving at Occidental in 2015. Occidental's commitment to social justice and global, experience-based education drew Charlie west to Los Angeles, and he was more than happy to trade in his snow-boots for sunglasses. At Occidental, Charlie directs enrollment strategies, the admission operations staff, external and cross-campus partnerships, and the evaluation of all first-year and transfer applicants. 


Robin Meryl

Robin Hamilton Meryl '08 (she/her)

Senior Associate Dean of Admission 


Students I work with: First-year applicants from AK, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, SD, WA, WY, and parts of CA: West L.A. and West Beach, Hollywood and Wilshire, as well as transfer applicants and veterans of the U.S. Armed Services

Bio: Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Robin first came to Occidental as a student in 2004, in search of a diverse and challenging learning environment and sunshine all year round. During her time at Occidental, Robin was a varsity athlete on the women's swim & dive team, a charter member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and worked on campus as a Resident Advisor and Office of Student Life Programming Assistant. After graduating with a degree in Urban & Environmental Policy, Robin worked at Beloit College and University of California Los Angeles, ultimately finding her way back to Occidental in 2015. Now back on campus, Robin directs the recruitment process of our first-year and transfer students, leads our Equity Initiatives Team and serves as a resource for our veteran students.


Courtney Stricklin Burgan

Courtney Stricklin Burgan '03 (she/her)

Senior Associate Dean of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from AZ, HI, ID, and parts of CA: San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Covina and West Covina

Bio: Courtney is a SoCal native and has been a resident of North East Los Angeles since matriculating at Occidental. As an Occidental student, Courtney was an orientation leader, residence hall coordinator, and even had an eventful stint as the college mascot. She was an Art History and Visual Arts major at Occidental, received her MFA at Otis College of Art and Design, and maintains a practice in the performing and conceptual arts in addition to her work in higher education. Courtney can be found leading the music at various L.A. area churches and has been known to find the best afternoon tea in whatever city she visits. Courtney oversees all admission programming on campus and around the country, partnering with fellow admission staff as well as alumni and parent volunteers for the College. 


Jessica Johnston (she/her)

Associate Dean of Admission, Coordinator of International Admission

Students I work with: First-year applicants from Washington, D.C., MD, VA, U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, North Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands), as well as all international applicants

Bio: Jessica is a first-generation college student who grew up in rural Minnesota. She attended Wellesley College where she studied political science and sociology and also holds a Master's Degree from Drexel University. After a one-year stint working for the Wellesley Alumnae Association, she found her path in admission at Rice University. She joined the Oxy team in 2022 after ten years at Scripps College, where she discovered her passion for working with international students. As coordinator of international admission, Jessica spends much of her time working with students residing outside of the United States and non-US citizens attending school in the United States. Her incurable wanderlust has led her to travel to all seven continents (aided by her trivia prowess and an appearance on Jeopardy)! When she's not planning her next trip, she enjoys exploring her neighborhood, making homemade ravioli and other tasty treats and acquiring funky jewelry. 


Jordan Brown '23

Jordan Brown '13 (he/him)

Associate Dean of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from IA, IL, IN, KY, MI, MN, OH, WI, and parts of CA: San Fernando Valley (East and West) 

Bio: Jordan returns to Oxy from New York City, where he completed his M.A. in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College and worked in the undergraduate admissions office at Columbia University. Prior to that, he spent two years as an admissions counselor at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. It was during this time that he discovered his love for admissions, strong coffee, and the importance of a good rain jacket. While a student at Oxy, Jordan majored in philosophy, interviewed prospective students, and taught health workshops in 9th grade classrooms. A former Tiger tennis player, Jordan still frequents the Occidental courts. When he is not in his office, you can find him in the pasta line at the Marketplace. 


Duanduan Hsieh (he/him)

Senior Assistant Dean of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from parts of CA: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, and Oakland, as well as virtual schools and home-schools

Languages spoken: English and Mandarin

Bio: As a third culture kid, Duanduan was raised in both the US and Taiwan. After graduating from high school in Taipei, he was looking to spend his college years away from a major metropolitan city. The search for more natural landscapes brought him to Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Throughout his college years, he worked as an admission ambassador, studied abroad in Italy, completed an internship in Belgium and led the Asian American Pacific Islander affinity group. As an Art and Art History major, he also maintained a studio art practice in photography and painting. After receiving his degree in 2019, Duanduan decided to pursue a career in his passion for higher education, specifically for college admission. He moved across the country to Los Angeles and worked at Pitzer College before joining the Occidental team in 2022. On the weekends, Duanduan can be found at the bouldering gym or exploring new restaurants with his friends.


Jessie Fontana-Maisel '16 (she/her)

Senior Assistant Dean of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from CO and parts of CA: Far northern CA, Marin County, Sacramento County, Sonoma and Napa

Bio: Jessie was raised in the SF Bay Area and graduated from Occidental as an Art History Major in 2016. At Occidental, she was involved in all forms of dance, including choreographing for Dance Production. Jessie was fortunate enough to study abroad in Italy twice, during winter break and for a full semester. She took her love of Europe further by completing her master’s degree in London. Since finishing grad school, Jessie has worked in Los Angeles area museums including the Norton Simon, Huntington, and ArtCenter College of Design. She recently transitioned to working in events and programming, and it felt only logical to take that skill set back to Occidental, where she is thrilled to be the Coordinator of Campus Experiences. Jessie loves taking walks around campus during her lunch breaks and sharing her infectious passion for Occidental with prospective students and families.


Katherine Torrey '23

Katherine Torrey '17 (she/her)

Assistant Dean of Admission


Students I work with: First-year applicants from CT, ME, MA, NH, OR, RI, VT, and parts of CA: Central Valley (North and South), Greater Imperial Valley, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ontario

Bio: Katherine graduated from Occidental in 2017 where she was a student of History and Art History. Born and raised in Maine, she grew to love Los Angeles during her time at Occidental and stayed after graduation to pursue opportunities in both the Arts and Higher Education. After two years in the workforce, Katherine decided to explore her passion for Art History and earned a Master’s degree specializing in Italian Renaissance Art from Syracuse University. She found her way back to the College as an Admission Counselor where she is excited to share her love of Occidental and its home of Eagle Rock with prospective students and families. You can usually spot her with a breakfast burrito from local legend Delia’s on a weekend morning.


Phoebe Patinkin '23

Phoebe Patinkin '22 (she/her)

Assistant Dean of Admission 


Students I work with: First-year applicants from LA, NM, OK, TX, and UT 

Bio: Phoebe recognized the impact a campus tour guide could have on prospective students starting in 2016 when she joined her older sister on her college tours. On her Occidental tour during her own college search, Phoebe fell in love with LA and the Occidental community. By the end of her first year, she fulfilled the dream of becoming a tour guide herself, and later became a Senior Fellow in the Office of Admissions. As a Philosophy major and Cognitive Science minor, Phoebe loves exploring life’s most challenging and unanswerable questions and wrote her senior thesis about the value of daydreaming. When not pondering the inexplicable, Phoebe finds immense satisfaction in helping prospective students envision their future on campus. When Phoebe isn't talking about Occidental, she’s probably exploring local parks, reading a novel set in the context of WWII, petting a stranger’s dog or eating coffee flavored ice cream. 


Chloe Lahham '24

Chloe Lahham '23 (she/her)

Admission Counselor


Students I work with: First-year applicants from NV and parts of CA: Anaheim, Central Coast, City of San Diego, City of San Jose, Orange County (North and South), Santa Ana, San Diego County, and Whittier

Bio: Born and raised in the Bay Area, Chloe came to Occidental excited to explore a smaller school community within the larger Los Angeles community. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of Occidental's liberal arts education, Chloe discovered she would be able to pursue her various academic interests and learn how to harmonize them. She graduated in 2023 with a Cognitive Science major and double minors in Economics and Media Arts & Culture. Chloe’s senior comprehensive project intersected her passion for art with her love for science by examining the cognition behind creativity. After working as a campus tour guide during her time at the College, Chloe also grew curious about the admissions process, ultimately finding her way back to campus as an Admission Counselor. She can often be found reading on a bench in Occidental's beloved quad, crocheting, or making jewelry.



Matthew Villongco (he/him)

Admission Counselor


Students I work with: First-year applicants from parts of CA: East Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Barbara and Ventura, South Bay, South Central L.A. and South L.A.

Bio: Matt grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles county, attending El Camino College before transferring to UCLA. He got his start in education during college by working for an outreach project, and then transitioned into working for an academic preparation program after graduation. Through working with educationally disadvantaged students in California, he noticed that in these areas, there is a lack of knowledge about liberal arts colleges like Occidental. Matthew hopes to further the College's mission in making an already diverse campus more accessible. In his free time, Matthew is either with one of his adult league soccer teams or playing pickup basketball.

Meet the Financial Aid Office Staff

Contact Admission & Aid
Collins House

1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041