Meet the Staff – Office of the Provost

Academic Affairs & Student Services

Nick Sabatino

Nick Sabatino – Co-Director of Academic Affairs and Student Services, as well as Chief of Staff out of the Office of the President

Nick Sabatino, M.P.A. serves as Co-Director of Academic Affairs and Student Services, as well as Chief of Staff out of the Office of the President. Nick also sits on Pacifica’s Executive Leadership Team, Coordinating-Operations Team, and Incident Response Team. Starting at Pacifica in 2014, Nick previously served as Program Administrator for the Clinical Psychology and Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices program, roles which provided him valuable experience and insight that he uses today to support students and faculty through his current roles. Prior to Pacifica, he worked in online education after completing his B.A. from Villanova University. He also has earned an M.P.A. (Public Administration with an emphasis in Management) from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Lauren Lastra

Lauren Lastra – Co-Director of Academic Affairs and Student Services

Lauren Lastra (she/her), MPA, is the Co-Director of Academic Affairs and Student Services who is committed to a just and mission-centered approach to organizational life. She has served or is currently serving as a member on several councils and committees, including Pacifica’s Diversity Task Force focused on Student Matters, the Institutional Communications Team, the Diversity and Inclusion Council, and the President’s Task Force on Campus Climate and Employee Moral. Lauren was nominated and appointed as the inaugural Staff Representative on Pacifica’s Board of Trustees (2020-2022). Since 2009, she has worked at Pacifica in various capacities, including as the Institute’s Sustainability Coordinator and in the Office of the President. Prior to coming to Pacifica, Lauren lived in the Valparaiso region of Chile where she worked as an Educator for the United Nations Development Program. Lauren actively serves as the current Board President of Santa Ynez Valley Pride and as a Board Director of People Helping People in Solvang, CA. She is a mama, outdoor enthusiast, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She studied multicultural literature (B.A.) at University of California, Berkeley and public policy and administration (M.P.A) at California Lutheran University.

Nicole Kitzmann

Nicole Kitzmann – Student Residential Services Manager

Nicole Kitzmann is the Student Residential Services Manager at Pacifica. She is committed to the organization and implementation of all of your residential housing and meal needs. Nicole has worked at Pacifica in the area of hospitality for six years and enjoys ensuring that all students’ needs are met to the best of her ability. Prior to employment at Pacifica, Nicole’s professional experience stems from housing management, personal assisting, and security/first response. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Sociology. In her free time, Nicole enjoys long walks with her dog Cozmo, catching a live sporting event, and time with family and friends.

Cristina Farias

Cristina Farias – Student Services Coordinator

Cristina Farias is the Student Services Coordinator at Pacifica. She is enthusiastic about helping Pacifica students throughout their academic journey at Pacifica. At Pacifica, Cristina also assists with student housing and dining needs, as well as helps coordinate Student Services initiatives and tasks, such as new student on-boarding. Cristina graduated from California Lutheran University with a bachelor’s in history and is currently pursuing a master’s in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University. Cristina is also an animal lover with three cats of her own and enjoys spending time with family whenever possible.

Victoria Bernhardt

Victoria Bernhardt – Academic and Student Affairs Coordinator

Victoria Bernhardt, M.A., is the Academic and Student Affairs Coordinator. Before coming to Pacifica, Victoria specialized in various mentorship, advising, and teaching roles. Victoria believes in experiential learning and authentic exploration that elevates the spirit. She considers herself a wilderness therapy expert, qualitative research specialist, and outdoor enthusiast. Victoria studied Psychology (B.S.) and Studio Art at Northern Arizona University. She earned her M.A. there as well, specializing in a pre-doctoral research-based Psychology degree.

Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Learning

Vanessa Conte

Vanessa Conte – Instructional Effectiveness Associate

Vanessa Conte (she/her) is the Instructional Effectiveness Associate in the Institutional Effectiveness & Learning Office, where she supports the development of the institutional effectiveness program, including data analysis and reporting for evidence-based decision-making for the continuous improvement throughout the institution. Prior to coming to Pacifica, Vanessa was the Associate Chair and Director of Assessment for a liberal arts department at a college for visual and performing arts. She was also a faculty member at various institutions for over twenty years, teaching English to second-language learners, painting, drawing, and art history. Vanessa is also a professional artist who exhibits internationally and has a studio in Los Angeles. She is passionate about supporting equality in education and volunteers as an online English as a Second Language Tutor (ESL) for the International Women’s Resource Center (IWRC) and a scholarship application reviewer for the UCLA Alumni Foundation. Vanessa holds an MA in General Linguistics from California State University, Long Beach, a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Painting & Drawing from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BS in Studio Art & Art History from New York University.

Registrar’s Office

Francine Matas

Francine Matas – Registrar

Francine has devoted many years in service to both adult learners and adolescents. Her current role as Pacifica’s registrar and previous positions as associate registrar and associate director of career services, school psychologist, EFL instructor working abroad, as well as caseworker, counselor and director for a variety of programs serving at risk youth have held both challenges and deep rewards. She is pleased to work alongside dedicated staff members in the Registrar’s Office to support Pacifica students in the achievement of their goals.

Amy J Bristol

Amy J Bristol – Senior Associate Registrar, Registration Services

At Pacifica, I handle all things related to enrollment such as registration and enrollment reporting. Feel free to contact me for questions regarding policy and procedure, registration or changes in enrollment. The Registrar’s Office has decades of experience and is interested in guiding students through their education as needed.

Rob Case

Rob Case – Registrar Coordinator

Rob began working at Pacifica in 2001 and he has been part of the Registrar’s team since 2004. He maintains student records, posts grades, processes tutorial contracts, updates contact information, fulfills transcript requests, processes VA and IPEDS quarterly enrollment certifications, degree verifications, and plays an integral role in commencement.

Library Team

Mark Kelly

Mark Kelly – Associate Director of Library Services

Currently Associate Director of Library Services, Mark has served as a librarian at Pacifica since 1991. He enjoys helping students navigate the labyrinth of library resources as they explore their research topics, collaborating with faculty in development of the library collections, and crafting online library guides such as the recently developed Library Guide to Jungian Psychology, and the digital index to the Spring journal. He earned his MLIS from the University of Arizona and his BA from New College of California. As a California naturalist, he enjoys hiking the hills of Santa Barbara, learning about California’s native plants, and foraging for wild edibles and medicinal herbs. As an avid gravel cyclist, he looks forward to his upcoming bikepacking adventures.

Richard Buchen

Richard Buchen – Special Collections and Reference Librarian

Richard Buchen has worked in libraries for over 45 years. He received his Master of Library Science degree from U.C.L.A. in 1985, and after working at the Huntington Library and the library of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles, he began cataloging the Joseph Campbell and Marija Gimbutas Library in 1995. He started as a reference Librarian with the Graduate Research Library at Pacifica in 1998, and he still works with the Campbell and Gimbutas Library.

Karla Wiley

Karla Wiley – Cataloging and Technical Services Librarian

Karla Wiley’s journey to Pacifica Graduate Institute as Cataloging and Technical Services Librarian began after a 10 year stint at Amgen in Thousand Oaks, CA as Administrative Coordinator / Cataloging and Technical Services Librarian. During this time, the road took some detours through two school districts (Oxnard and Santa Paula) as a librarian, and finally through a temp agency working for Easter Seals. She holds a BS in Organizational Communication from Purdue University Global (formerly Kaplan University) and has begun work on her Master’s in Communication and Leadership at Gonzaga University. Go Zags!

Jason Morgan

Jason Morgan – Circulation Assistant

Currently going to school to study psychology. I’ve been at Pacifica for over 20yrs now. I consider going to school, working and having a family life all at the same time an achievement. I like to play guitar and paint when time permits. I love watching old samurai films after I’m done with all my other commitments. Especially ones starring Toshiro Mifune.

KC Cohen – Library Assistant I

KC is a lifelong book lover who believes a day in a library is a day well spent. Her favorite aspect of library work is spending time in the stacks reviewing and caring for Pacifica’s collection of over 30,000 print materials. Her hobbies include hand sewing for her Etsy shop, studying the tarot, and spending time with animals.

Dissertation Office

Meadow Rhodes

Meadow Rhodes – Dissertation Office Manager

Meadow Rhodes is a Santa Barbara local and a graduate of UC Santa Cruz with a Film and Digital Media, Production Concentration, degree. She has worked on various short film and television productions as well as many events, most notably serving as the Production Coordinator for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In her free time when she is not taking care of her tortoises, Herbie and Bean and sweet puppy Leo, Meadow can be found gardening, hiking, or in bed tangled in a mess of yarn, crocheting away. Meadow has been with PGI for over two years and looks forward to continuing to work with faculty and students to finalize their dissertation and successfully defend.

Jude Ryan

Jude Ryan – Dissertation Office Coordinator

Jude Ryan is a recent graduate from UCSB, where he majored in Language, Culture, & Society with an emphasis in Speech-Language Technologies. During his studies, he worked hard to contribute to a research team cataloging the morphology of two endangered Siberian languages, as well as at UCSB’s Office of the Registrar, where he was responsible for managing and digitizing student data. After graduating, Jude has continued to pursue his career in academia here at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Outside of work, Jude is interested in backpacking, fencing, and volunteering in local nature conservancy projects. Jude is proud to be part of the Pacifica team.