Meet the counselors and advisers in the Men of Color Community at De Anza.
Erick Aragon, M.S.Ed. – Counselor
Erick was born and raised in Southern California. He is a proud alumnus of the California Community College system, graduating from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. Erick transferred to San Diego State University and received his Bachelor of Arts in history with an emphasis in Asian American studies. Erick continued his education at Northern Illinois University, where he received his Master of Science in counseling, specializing in clinical mental health counseling and career development. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in educational leadership at San Francisco State University, focusing on identity development of men of color in post-secondary education.
Erick came to De Anza College in 2013 and has served in various roles, such as counselor/instructor in Initiatives to Maximize Positive Academic Achievement and Cultural Thriving Focusing on Asian American and Pacific Islander (IMPACT AAPI), Math Performance Success Program (MPS), and First Year Experience (FYE)/Summer Bridge. Prior to coming to De Anza College, Erick served a counselor/instructor at Laney College in Oakland CA.
Umar Douglas, M.S.W. – Counselor
Umar Douglas is a native of the Bay Area. While attending De Anza, Umar became deeply involved in social justice issues through his work as a DASB Senator and president of the Muslim Student Association. His interest in social justice continued throughout his education and guided his professional choices. He transferred to San Francisco State University where he earned a B.A. in sociology. Upon graduating in 2007, he worked with foster youth in residential treatment facilities and group homes. Shortly after, he moved to Brooklyn and began working as a youth advisor in a GED program for disconnected youth in East New York.
This intensive work sparked his interest in social work and he enrolled in a master’s in social work program at Columbia University. While attending school and working simultaneously, Umar was promoted to the program coordinator at Arches in the South Bronx where he and his five staff served youth on probation. The Arches program works to reduce recidivism rates among black and brown males by helping them find new ways of coping with their environment through education, employment, and counseling.
Jesus Ruelas, B.A. – Academic Adviser
Jesus is a first-generation college graduate, born and raised in San Jose. Growing up, education was not a priority. Jesus felt fortunate to have graduated high school. In 2011, Jesus enrolled at De Anza College and was part of the First Year Experience (FYE) program. He began his educational career as a peer adviser and tutor in the Student Success and Retention Services center, where he discovered he really enjoyed helping new students make a successful transition.
Jesus was awarded the UC Santa Cruz Karl S. Pister Leadership Opportunity Award, which is given to students who have overcome adverse socioeconomic circumstances and demonstrated the commitment to assisting and improving the lives of others. He continued his work with students at UC Santa Cruz as a Peer Advisor for the Educational Opportunity Programs Office and intern for the Ethnic Resource Center. Jesus recently graduated with a combined major in sociology and Latin American and Latino studies. He feels fortunate to have had numerous opportunities to work in different Retention Support Services programs and most recently with the Services for Transfer and Re-entry Students (STARS) office at UC Santa Cruz.
Jesus always strives to develop an atmosphere of acceptance when working with students. He believes that it is important to provide an open space where students can feel comfortable regardless of class, gender, sexuality or race. Jesus is currently working on his Masters in Educational Counseling at San Jose State University.