Meet the SYE & CHESS Team

The staff and counselors listed below support students in both the Second-Year Experience (SYE) Program and CHESS Men's Mentorship Program.  Students participating in either program are able to schedule appointments to meet with any of the listed team-members.


Student Success Center Director

Claudia Sitlington


Photo of Claudia Sitlington, Student Success Center Director

Claudia started at Moorpark College in July of 2019.  She has 16 years of experience working in higher education.  Her background is in enrollment management, student services, and academic advising.  Prior to working at Moorpark College she worked at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and CSU Channel Islands  She has a bachelor’s in Film and a Master’s in Education.  







Nancy Canela


📅Schedule an Appointment with Nancy

Photo of SYE/CHESS Counselor, Nancy Canela

My name is Nancy Canela, SYE/CHESS Counselor, and I have worked at Moorpark College since Fall 2019. Additionally, I have 4 years of teaching experience, and I am part of the Los Angeles Community District where I teach Career Planning and College Success Strategies courses for FYE and dual enrollment students. My experience includes working with economically disadvantaged students. I am former community college student and first-generation student. I attended Los Angeles City College and obtained an Associates in Liberal Arts. Being the first one in my family to attend college was not an easy task.  I faced many challenges such financial hardships, language barrier and college navigation just to name a few. It took me 5 years to complete my Associates, but it was the biggest accomplishment of my life. Subsequently, I transferred to Calstate Los Angeles where I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and finally culminated my advanced my studies by attending Calstate Dominguez Hills and graduated with a Master’s degree in Counseling.  I am committed and passionate to help all students reach their academic goals. I believe in the power of teamwork and believe no student should feel alone in their academic journey. I am beyond excited to be part of such wonderful team and continue to assist student in every step of their academic goals.

Will Martinez


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Will Martinez, SYE CHESS Counselor

William Martinez is a native Angeleno who has more than 10 years of experience in the field of education. Before giving academics a thought, he enlisted in the military after high school as an Army Infantryman. After separating from the military, he attended community college in the Bay Area for two years, a transformational experience which he credits for inspiring his interest in education.

In 2007, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from U.C. Berkeley and a Master’s degree in the area of Counseling from Loyola Marymount University in 2011. Mr. Martinez has been active in the field of education in different positions and projects including academic counseling, program coordination, and as a faculty member in graduate counseling psychology.

His interests include topics relating to transfer students, first-generation college students, veterans’ advocacy, major to career exploration, and demystifying the college search and application process.  Most recently, he is grateful to take on his new role as SYE/CHESS Counselor at Moorpark College, where he can continue to encourage and inspire future generations of difference makers.


Student Success Coaches

Xilen Ramirez


📅Schedule an Appointment with Xilen

Photo of Xilen Ramirez, Second Year Experience Success Coach

Xilen is a proud alumni of the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and minors in Education and Chicano Studies. She has worked in a diverse array of education settings across the country and held a variety of roles such as teacher, academic advisor, tutor, and basketball coach. Most recently, she worked on behalf of TRIO Student Support Services and McNair Scholars supporting first-generation and underrepresented college students at Cal Poly SLO and Cal Lutheran. Xilen received her Master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and is excited to be part of SYE & CHESS helping students navigate the college experience.


Melanie Csellak


📅Schedule an Appointment with Melanie

Second-Year Experience, Project CHESS Success Coach, Melanie Csellak

Hi! My name is Melanie, and I am a proud Moorpark College Alum. I am a first-generation college student and earned my Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management from the University of La Verne. I earned my M.S. in Counseling and College Student Personnel program from California Lutheran University (CLU). Before joining the Second Year Experience (SYE) and CHESS teams, I worked with graduate students at CLU. I have also helped support the ALLIES in STEM program at CLU and the Academic Advising office at CSUCI. I am passionate about supporting students to reach their personal and academic goals and very excited to work with the SYE and CHESS students.



Administrative Assistant


Philip Koscak


Profile picture of Philip Koscak

Philip joined the CHESS team in 2020. He holds a BA in Art and an MA in Visual Art from California State University, Northridge. In 2017 he received his MFA in Sculpture from Cranbrook Academy of Art and currently runs his studio at home. His research and work investigates race, gender, sexuality, and memory. He has worked at several art institutions in administrative and visitor experience roles.