UCSB Campus Learning Assistance Services

Administrative Team

Jeff Landeck, Director
I started tutoring writing as a student at Santa Barbara City College. After earning a BA in English from UCSB and an MA in English from McGill University, I went on to teach literature and writing in the classroom, but I always kept my experiences as an individual tutor at the heart of my teaching. As Director I still do. After living in Portland, Montréal, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, it’s great to be back teaching in Santa Barbara—the community where my teaching began.
Venus Nasri, Business & Management Services Officer
Venus is a key member of CLAS since 2010. Working with departments across campus, she has been a valuable member of the UCSB community for over a decade. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French/Philosophy from CUNY. She is fluent in three languages and is active volunteering in the local community. A respected colleague, she is the liaison between Student Affairs departments and Academic Personnel in hiring Academic titles and related policies.
Ira Gladnick, Information Systems Manager
Education: AS in Sewage Technology, Monroe Community College; BA in Mathematics, Cal State LA
Specialization: Database applications
Guiding principle: Don’t Make Me Think
Interests: Historical materialism, Epicurus
Academic advice: Discount your parents’ fantasies
Memorable quote: "The expected never happens: it is the unexpected always." -- John Maynard Keynes
Dan Givens, Program Assistant
Dan Givens graduated from UCSB in 1986 with a BA in psychology emphasizing in human information processing. As the Program Assistant at CLAS, Dan feels it is important to stress the importance of “Teamwork.” At CLAS, we are all team players. Together, we strive to provide superior tutoring and instruction with the goal of providing the best experience and opportunity for all UCSB students. In the words of the Dalai Lama, "Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
Patricia Martha Oregel, Personnel Assistant
Martha graduated from UCSB in 2011 with degrees in English and Spanish.


Amy Liest, Biology & Chemistry
Amy graduated with honors from UCSB with a degree in biological sciences and began working at CLAS as an organic chemistry tutor soon after. As the coordinator of the Bio/Chem Program at CLAS, Amy still enjoys tutoring students, as well as hiring, training, and mentoring the biology and chemistry tutors. A strong advocate of interactive learning techniques and the Socratic Method, Amy encourages her tutors to promote independent learning in their own students to ensure continued academic success long after tutorial sessions have concluded. Amy also enjoys natural history, botany, classic cinema, and cats.
Calvin Kao, Math, Physics, Engineering, Economics & Statistics
CLAS Math/Science and Econ Coordinator Calvin Kao earned a bachelor of science in mathematical sciences and a master’s degree in applied mathematics from UCSB, where he was admitted as a Regents Scholar. Calvin enjoys learning and teaching math. Calvin believes that the future is an illusion and the past is a memory; focus on today and do what you must. He encourages others to think good thoughts, speak kind words, and do good deeds every day.


Terri Bentzinger, Chemistry
CLAS Learning Skills Counselor Terri Bentzinger graduated with a BS from UCSB. Terri grew up in Glendale, California with a passion for seeing the world and integrating herself into new cultures. She has lived in New York City, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and multiple European countries. In addition to playing pool competitively, she is an avid painter and enjoys glass fusion. Her goals are to make beautiful art and to make chemistry an enjoyable learning experience. Her motto is “Anything can happen, even an A in chemistry.”
Loren Bonderson, Math & Physics
Loren grew up on a farm in Nebraska. His graduating high school class had 32 students. Loren attended the University of Nebraska and received his BS in Mechanical Engineering. He went on to attend MIT and receive a SM and a PhD. in Mechanical Engineering. Loren is an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. Loren worked for General Motors (later becoming General Dynamics) for 33 years before coming to CLAS to become the math and physics Learning Skills counselor at UCSB in 2008.
Amy Boutell, Acting Writing & Foreign Language Lab Supervisor
Amy Boutell has a BA in English and writing from Barnard College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, and an MFA in Writing from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where she was awarded a James A. Michener Fellowship. She has published several short stories, received numerous writing honors, and worked in publishing in New York. Amy enjoys tutoring students at all stages of the writing and revision process, developing tutor training, and leading CLAS’s creative writing workshops. She was honored to receive a 2013 Ally Award from the UCSB Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Community.
Emily Bryant, Biology
Emily was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. She graduated from Oakwood High School in 1993. Following graduation, she was a ballet dancer for Lexington Ballet and Dayton Ballet. In her mid-twenties, she retired from dance. In 1999, Emily moved out to California to white water raft guide in the Lake Tahoe area. Once in Lake Tahoe, she spent several years teaching ballet, snowboarding, and mountain biking until deciding to return to school. She attended Lake Tahoe Community College from 2003-2006, and transferred to UCSB in 2006. She graduated with a BS in biochemistry from UCSB in 2008, while receiving highest honors and distinction in her major. In the summer of 2008 she started working for CLAS teaching introductory biology and genetics.
Emma Cristofani, Academic Skills
Emma Cristofani graduated from UCSB in 2012 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in English with an emphasis on modern culture in literature. She first arrived as a freshman with no idea what major she wanted to pursue, and as a result she took at least one class in almost every department at UCSB, from art history to physics. While an undergrad, she found her true passion as an ACE writing tutor for CLAS and later migrated to Academic Skills. Her number-one priority is to help students discover strategies to make their academic endeavors much easier and more efficient, so they can avoid stress and live a balanced life here at UCSB.
Lee DeAnda, Math
CLAS Learning Skills Counselor Lee DeAnda earned both a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a master’s degree in Education from UCSB. Lee is passionate about helping students who struggle in math and who may have little or no interest in mathematics. Lee uses his life experiences, creativity, patience, and humor to create a community among his students while also helping them to develop independent learning skills. Lee also works as a photographer and as a baker/caterer. Lee’s interests include sports, music, movies, tropical beaches, snow, Lakers, Raiders, chocolate chip cookies, photography, and zombies!
Mitchal Dichter, Math
Mitchal received a BS in Applied Mathematics and BS in Computer Science from UC Davis and was briefly a grad student in applied math also at UC Davis. His teaching experience includes tutoring high school, undergrad, and grad students in math courses and courses with extensive use of mathematics, as well as being a Teaching Assistant for Vector Calculus and Beginning Integration while at UC Davis. He is from Santa Cruz, writing computer programs for fun, reading science fiction novels, finding extremely unusual movies to watch, and aspiring to learn piano and be of mediocre quality soon. :p
Eric Engel, Chemistry
Eric Engel received a BS in pharmacological chemistry from UCSD before attending graduate school at UCSB, where he earned a master’s degree in chemistry. Inspired by his high school chemistry teacher, Ms. O’Donnell (the most awesome woman ever!), Eric realized that teaching fulfilled his desire to work in science and make a positive impact on students’ lives. Eric is a full-time chemistry instructor at CLAS, and he is happy to share his experiences and insights with students in order for them to not only pass chemistry but succeed at UCSB and beyond. His hobbies include surfing, music, and disc golf, as well as camping and hiking around California.
Sean Frazier, Physics

Sean earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Princeton in 2012, where his research in experimental cosmology focused on measuring and analyzing the cosmic microwave background radiation. After college he spent four seasons growing organic vegetables on the East End of Long Island, where he operated his own small farm. Over time he began to miss doing physics, so he moved to Goleta in 2015 in order to teach at CLAS. In his free time Sean volunteers with an atomic physics group on campus that is investigating novel many-body phenomena in ultracold atomic systems driven far from equilibrium. Apart from physics, Sean likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors and in the ocean.

Ed Hachfeld, Math & Physics
CLAS Learning Skills Counselor Ed Hachfeld earned his MS in Materials Science and Engineering from UCSB where he specialized in understanding growth stress in thin films. For the following six years he designed and built Atomic Force Microscopes at a local high tech company. He brings his experience, curiosity, passion for learning, patience, and playfulness to help students organize and understand complex concepts in math and physics. Ed has always loved to learn, and he has discovered he loves teaching just as much. In his spare time, Ed enjoys beekeeping, grafting rare fruit trees, organic gardening, and primitive archery.
Ed Minekime, Economics
Ed Minekime is the stable force behind Economics tutoring at CLAS. A graduate of Cornell University, Ed also holds a graduate degree from UCSB. Always sharing a smile, and a word of encouragement, Ed has helped countless students excel in Economics.
Alex Pavellas, ECE, Math, & Physics
Alex Pavellas is an instructor for math, physics, and engineering at CLAS. He earned his BS in electrical engineering from UCSB in 2004. He is an amateur historian of math and science and, in his spare time, he attempts to solve problems using the methods of the ancients. He wants to pass his enthusiasm for science on to his students, as well as an appreciation for how much hard work and time it takes to master just a small corner of this human endeavor. When not doing any of these things, Alex writes science fiction stories, plays bass, Frisbee golf, and is occasionally funny. Alex.Pavellas@sa.ucsb.edu
Binh Pham, Math & Pstat
CLAS Learning Skills Counselor Binh Pham earned both a bachelor’s degree in mathematical sciences and master’s degree in applied statistics from UCSB. He believes that numbers rule the world and having a better understanding of numbers can only help. Binh hopes to help students prepare for “life after school” through sharing his personal experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student. Binh enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys.
Jay Stemmle, Academic Skills
Jay Stemmle started working at CLAS as a writing tutor back in 1999. She eventually moved into the area of academic skills and served as the Coordinator of CLAS’s Academic Skills Program from 2001-2011. In Fall 2011, Jay lived in Belgium on a Fulbright Scholarship, conducting archival research toward her PhD in medieval history. Jay went on to receive UCSB’s Humanities Research Mentorship Award to continue her work back in Santa Barbara, and in 2013-14, she served as a TA in the Department of History. Now Jay is back at CLAS doing what she calls, “the best job at UCSB.” Jay brings to her work a deep curiosity about the nature of learning, an unwavering respect for students of all GPAs, and her own experience of the sweetness of discovery. Her aim is to help every UCSB student find that sweetness in their classes. Along these lines, she stays continuously active inquiring into the strategies of successful students and into the most difficult academic challenges that all students face. Jay holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from Northwestern University and a Master’s Degree in English from UCSB. She is a PhD Candidate in UCSB’s History Department. Her dissertation focuses on communities of people with leprosy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in a region that is today southern Belgium.
Vince Zaccone, Math & Physics
Vince Zaccone came to UCSB in 1986 as an undergraduate. Five years later he had a BS degree in Physics and Mathematics, and an overwhelming desire to teach at some level. After an underwhelming stint as a substitute teacher, Vince came back to UCSB for an MA in Mathematics and began tutoring for CLAS in 1993. When not in the classroom, hobbies include mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, disc golf, surfing, and just about anything else outdoorsy. Recent accomplishments include fathering two amazing daughters. Personal motto: “If you’re not enjoying it, you’re doing it wrong.”