Our Dedicated Staff

Not many universities have a staff dedicated to American Indian students, but UCR does. UCR respects all identities, cultures, and backgrounds, and provides the people and resources to help you succeed. We are here for you, and welcome you as part of our UCR family. Stop by 229 Costo Hall to say hi.


Joshua Gonzales (Xictlaka), M.B.A., Director

Josh earned a B.S. in Business Administration from UCR in 2004, and an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix in 2007. He began working at UCR in 2005 as a program assistant, and started his duties as director of Native American Student Programs in 2009. He is also a member of the University of California American Indian Counselor Recruiter Association. Josh enjoys cultural ceremonies and gatherings, running, sports and learning from others. He is particularly interested in learning more about his Native language. He lives in Riverside with his wife, son and daughter.

Brenda Batt, Administrative Assistant

Brenda started working at UCR in January 1999. She is the administrative assistant for NASP and for Asian Pacific Student Programs, and is also a volunteer for the UCR Staff Assembly. She is mother of two wonderful young men and various furry creatures. In her spare time she enjoys golf, cooking and reading.

Sara M. Medel, Program Coordinator


Sara was awarded a B.S. in Business Administration (Marketing) from UCR in 2018. She spent her undergraduate career working as a student assistant in NASP. She is Pomo, Miwok and Yuki, enrolled in Round Valley Indian Tribes. Her favorite events to prepare for include the pow wow and the Gathering of the Tribes Summer Residential Program. When she’s not busy with school or work, Sara enjoys crafting and connecting with friends.

Joaquin F. Tarango (Miwok), Program Coordinator


Preferred pronouns: He/Him/His
Joaquin F. Tarango (Miwok/Mexican) graduated cum laude from the California State University, Sacramento in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and hopes one day to continue his education in the field of behavioral neuroscience. Until then, his passion will always remain in helping Native American communities, especially students striving for higher education. Joaquin’s cultural heritage as a traditional Miwok dancer, love for helping people, and dedication to education are engrained at his core foundation. He has worked as a Residential Assistant (RA and Senior Head RA) from 2012 – 2017 with the American Indian Summer Institute of Earth System Sciences through UC, Irvine; a summer program aimed at educating and inspiring Native American high school students from throughout the nation to pursue higher education. Joaquin has volunteered (and been “voluntold”) with various Native American organizations throughout his life, and has worked directly for his tribe, Wilton Rancheria, in multiple capacities as a tutor, certified Tribal Monitor, Election Commission Spokesperson, and weekly Elder Food Distribution volunteer. He is honored and excited for the new opportunities, challenges, and adventures that await here at UC, Riverside!

NASP Staff
(Left - Right) Joaquin Tarango, Sara Medel, Brenda Batt, Josh Gonzales

Raelyn Castillo, Student Assistant

Raelyn is a third-year student majoring in Neuroscience. She is an Apache descendant who looks forward to discovering more about her Native American heritage. She is involved with the Native American Student Association, and treasurer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. On her free time, Raelyn loves to dance, play softball, and sing at her church. Her ambitions include becoming more familiar with her Native culture, and to graduate as a Native American female in the Science field.

Joaquin Malta, Student Assistant

Joaquin is a second-year student majoring in Psychology. He is a member of the Navajo tribe of the Táchii'nii clan born for Naakaii. He is the secretary for the Native American Student Association as well as the Vice President for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Joaquin loves to get involved on campus and in the community any way he can. In his spare time, he can be found either at the gym or on the court playing soccer or volleyball.