Meet the BTO Peer Mentors and Staff (2019-2020)


Start Strong


Peer mentorship is provided to students transitioning into their first year at Cañada to build their academic toolkit for success.

Stay Strong


As students continue with their college education, peer mentorship is provided to encourage students to persist with their education, motivate them to continue to excel academically in order to reach their transfer and graduation objective.

Finish Strong


Peer mentorship is provided to support students who are transfer-ready and can help them prepare to be academically successful at a 4-year university.




Name: Noluthando Mbanjwa, BTO Peer Mentor 
Major: Civil Engineering
Tutoring Subjects: English

"Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness"

 Bio: I would like to transfer to a 4 year university like UC Berkley or San Jose State. My hobbies are hiking, camping, traveling and exploring new place, movies ,and watching Netflix. I love being organized, being punctual for all my classes, and making sure I try my utmost best to achieve my life goals. I love helping people around me who need assistance, so come talk to me!

Nicol Laura

Name: Nicol Laura

Major: Biology

Tutoring subject: Biology & Chemistry



"Let's recommit to work towards a common goal: A nation where all of us are winners, all of us have shelter, food, and education." -Nelson Mandela

Bio: This is my first semester working for BTO, and I am very excited to be a mentor for students! As a first-generation college student, I know what it's like to be a new student in college with anxiety, nervousness, and questions but I am here to help just like others! I look forward to working with students and offering my support to help them enjoy their experience and be successful here at Cañada College. 

 Diego Z

Name: Diego Zevallos, BTO Peer Mentor 

Major: Rhetoric

Tutoring Subjects: Interpersonal Communication


"Don't ever be scare to be yourself! Always speak the truth; don't be afraid to disagree with others. Just remember to be respectful and conscious of other people's feelings. And most importantly, recognize that it is ok to agree to disagree. Just be mindful and respectful of other's beliefs."


Bio: I was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to the U.S. ten years ago. I have been attending Cañada College for the past two years. I hope to transfer this upcoming semester to either a UC or SF State. I have a few hobbies that I'm incredibly passionate about, skateboarding, Dirt biking, music, and backpacking around the world during summer when it's accessible. Additionally, I love to meet new people and engage in deep, meaningful conversations. I'm incredibly open-minded, which allows me to hear others without judgment or biases. So, feel free to reach out to me if you ever want to talk about anything. I am more than happy to offer my help/advice to the best of my abilities or be a pair of ears if you need someone to listen to you without giving an opinion. I'm here for you, so feel free to come to me at any given time. You are more than welcome to ask me for anything. I will always do my best to help you to the best of my abilities, and if I cant help you overcome a barrier, I can for sure introduce you to someone that might be the best fit to work with you. Keep in mind everything that you choose to share with me will stay confidential. Cheers!

 BTO Staff





Name: Candice Johnson, Program Services Coordinator & Cañada Alum
Major: Human Services w/ a concentration in Counseling
Tutoring Subjects: English/writing, Human Services
“I CAN” connect you to a Peer Mentor who will support you, motivate you to reach your goals, and connect you to campus resources"
Bio: What are your goals? What do you like to do? Hobbies? Tell your mentees about your school goals and something about you. As the supervisor of awesome, helpful peer leaders, my goal is to expose the benefits of having a Peer Mentor to create a community of student-to-student support.  When I was a Cañada student, I found that I was far more likely to take advice from only 1 counselor but several classmates; that’s why I took this position.  When your peers are well-informed and trained to work with you through problems and connect you to services, it makes college seem more doable. Many of us suffer from “imposter syndrome:” feeling like we’re faking being a college student, as if we don’t belong. I want students to thrive on the fact that you do belong, you are capable, and you are wanted here. When I’m not motivating students, I like to read, have casual get-togethers with friends and family, go to the movies, and occasionally travel!




Name: James Macale, Counselor - BTO, TRIO SSS
Availability: Not available this summer, but check back in the fall!  To see a counselor, please contact the Welcome Center: (650) 306-3452 and (650) 381-3596    email: