A group photo of staff of Chicano Student Programs, pictured from left to right: Alice Chavez, Arlene Cano Matute, and Estella Acuña

Nuestra familia es su familia

If you ask our students about Chicano Student Programs, the first thing they will tell you is that we are one big family. Our caring staff supports UCR’s Chicano/Latino community with incredible programs and resources. Our faculty’s research and experiences speak to issues about La Raza, and provide priceless networking and mentorship opportunities. Our shared goals and values make the Common Ground Collective a strong branch of our family tree. Our student organizations are some of our most inspirational family members. Contact us any time. You are part of our family, too.


Professional Staff

Department Information
Costo Hall

Chicano Student Programs

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: (951) 827-3821
145 Costo Hall Riverside, CA 92521

Meet Our Staff

Estella Acuña, Director

Serving the campus since 1996
Phone: (951) 827-3822
Email: Estella Acuna

Staff photo of Estella Acuña, Director

I joined the Chicano Student Programs staff in 1996 and, in a span of seven years, went from being the student assistant to the program director.

After high school, I attended Riverside Community College, where I received my associate degree. I then transferred to UCR, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chicano studies. I am the first in my family to attend college.

I truly enjoy my job; it is absolutely my dream job. I enjoy working with the students, faculty, and staff. My involvement, mentors, and studies have inspired me to give back to the community and try to make a difference. I grew up in a single-family household. My mom’s values, survival, and love for her children have also influenced my life. Tune in to KUCR 88.3 FM on Friday nights, and you might hear a familiar voice. ¡Adelante



Bibiana Canales, Program Coordinator

Serving the campus since 2019
Phone: (951) 827-2216
Email: Bibiana Canales


Bibiana Canales (she/they) was raised in Rubidoux, CA, a community in west Riverside alongside the Santa Ana River. As a first-generation Chicanx student coming from a low-income and system impacted background, they found a home and familia at Chicano Student Programs during their first year as an undergraduate student. As an undergrad, they were the Student Program Coordinator at CSP for three years, and now serve as Program Coordinator after graduating in 2022. They received their B.A. in Ethnic Studies, B.S. in Sustainability Studies and minor in Labor Studies.

While at UCR, they organized with non-profit and community organizations whose aim was to amplify the voices of formerly incarcerated and system-impacted people, as well as coalitions centered around environmental justice in the I.E. They were a co-researcher for UCR's CE-CERT Air Quality Monitoring research for the Ruben Campos community. As well as a co-researcher in the Encuentros, Student Participatory Action Research, and Testimonios (ESPARiTU) project where they focused on recovering some of the origins and evolution of Chicano/Latino student organizing at UCR. They are passionate about preserving our memories and histories as an act of love. They are dedicated to continuing to grow through community based resource centers in honor of their loved ones and those who did not have the opportunity to consider higher education due to lack of socio-cultural, economic and academic support.


Arlene Cano Matute, Ph.D. Assistant Director

Serving the campus since 2011
Phone: (951) 827-2215
Email: Arlene Cano Matute

Staff photo of Arlene Cano Matute, Assistant Director

Dr. Arlene Cano Matute (she/her/ella) serves as the Assistant Director of Chicano Student Programs at the University of California, Riverside. She received her B.A. in both Ethnic Studies and Political Science: Law and Society and an M.Ed. in Higher Education and her Ph.D. in Higher Education, Administration and Policy at UC Riverside. She is the founder of a teen reading program, Un Libro, Mil Mundos (One Book, A Thousand Worlds) through the Riverside County Library System which aims to develop a love and understanding of reading built upon the introduction of Chicana/ox and Latina/o/x literature. She serves on various committees on her campus, is a member of community organizations, is a certified facilitator on civic reflection, and volunteers as an advisor to several student organizations at UC Riverside.

As a first-generation, system-impacted, mother scholar she is passionate about working alongside students and the community focusing on identity development, empowerment, social justice, community service, leadership, and equity in higher education. Her research examines the experiences of Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x students at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), specifically Hispanic Serving Research Institutions (HSRIs) in the University of California. She is particularly interested in the ways in which Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x students, and minoritized students overall, thrive in HSIs/HSRIs with an emphasis on access, retention, and persistence. Additionally, she serves as PI for the Encuentros, Student Participatory Action Research y Testimonios (ESPARiTU) research project documenting the historical and present-day experiences and trajectories of Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x students at a UC HSRI. Dr. Cano Matute is an institutional change agent, scholar and practitioner committed to a student and community thriving culture. 


Yadira Sandoval, Budget, Personnel and Program Assistant

Serving the campus since 2023
Phone: (951) 827-2216
Email: Yadira Sandoval


Yadira Sandoval (She/Her/Ella) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, graduating from Fairfax High School. During her time at Pasadena City College, she actively participated in The Puente Project and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán, holding roles as the Internal Coordinator and Fundraising Coordinator. With extensive experience as a long-time UC staff member, she previously taught black and white darkroom photography and crocheting classes for UCLA Recreation.

In August 2022, Yadira joined UCR University Advancement, working in the Office of Development. Currently serving as the Budget, Personnel, and Program Assistant for both Chicano Student Programs and Undocumented Student Programs, she expresses her excitement to contribute to the impactful work led by students.

“It is an honor for me to join The Chicano Student Programs team in my new role. I am excited to support the amazing work led by students and to work in partnership with Estella, Arlene, Bibiana, and Maria.” Coming from UCR University Advancement, Development, Yadira is dedicated to furthering her commitment to student programs and initiatives at UCR.