Image by JOHN TOWNER

Our Team

Our team is devoted to supporting survivors of interpersonal violence (stalking, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence). We work together to foster community and increase access to alternative forms of holistic healing for those affected by violence. Scroll through our officers' biographies to find out more about us.

UC Santa Barbara Chapter Officers

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Vidhisha Mahesh (she/her)

President & Program Co-facilitator

Vidhisha is a fourth year majoring in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Film and Media Studies. She enjoys writing, biking, astrology, and working with friends on film productions on campus. Vidhisha’s favorite thing about Thriving is how it imagines what a truly safe community looks like—one that creates space for joy and healing, while honoring each individual's unique needs, comforts and journey.

Contact: vidhisha@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Laura Morales (she/her)

Vice President of Operations 

Laura is a third year student majoring in cultural anthropology and minoring in applied psychology. On the weekends, she is keen on making boba, decoupaging, writing short stories, having picnics at the park, and learning how to redesign old clothes! Some of the self care activities she partakes in include aromatherapy and dance, which she feels are really freeing for both the mind and body. Laura’s favorite thing about Thriving is how participants are able to navigate through the workshops according to their comfort levels and are supported regardless of where they stand in their healing journeys.

Contact: lmorales@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Brigitte Winne
(she/her)

Officer of Budgeting & Special Funding

Brigitte is a fourth year student majoring in Financial Mathematics and Statistics. Brigitte enjoys going to the beach, watching the sunset, and staying active. Her favorite part of The Thriving Initiative is how inclusive and accepting the programs are. Also, she is looking forward to working with the new team of officers and holding fun fundraisers! 

Contact: bwinne@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Aarushi Agrawal (she/her)

Officer of Fundraising

Aarushi is a fourth year student majoring in biopsychology, and minoring in applied psychology. She is very passionate about cognitive neuroscience and is involved in research at the Miller Memory Lab. She loves to dance, paint, and travel, and work with children whenever she has the chance to do so. To take some time to destress and key into herself, Aarushi enjoys taking a stroll on the beach and listening to music. She shares that Thriving has provided her with an additional family where everyone works together to foster a safe space and strives to help all in their endeavours!

Contact: aargrawal@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Ayaka Makino 
(she/her)

Officer of Finance & Accounting

Ayaka is a third year Economics and Accounting student at UCSB. She loves working in finance and dealing with numbers, but I also love interacting and connecting with other people - so this is her perfect role! Some of her past experiences include working as an administrative assistant and a marketing intern, and she plans to work as an audit intern next summer. In her free time she loves to bake, work out, play tennis, and watch Netflix.

Contact: amakino@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Andrew Foley 
(he/him/his)

Program Assistant

Andrew is a third year Psychological & Brain Sciences major on a pre-med track. He plans to pursue a double major in Spanish. When he’s not learning new languages, he enjoys swimming, watching foreign films,gardening and growing his own food. He loves connecting with his peers through The Thriving Initiative and is grateful for this unique opportunity.

Contactafoley@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Krystal Wilbert
(she/her)

Program Coordinator & Co-Facilitator

Hello everyone! My name is Krystal and I’m so excited to be a Program Coordinator and Co-Facilitator for The Thriving Initiative. I’m dedicated to supporting survivors of interpersonal violence and I hope to create a safe space for our community, where everyone feels comfortable, respected, and supported. I’m looking forward to serving as an active resource for our participants in the Thriving, Not Just Surviving Series. Thank you, and I hope to see you soon!

Contact: kwilbert@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Paige Baldwinson  (she/her)

Officer of Social Media & Marketing 

Paige is a senior at UCSB double majoring in CCS art and sociology. During 2020, she spent the year finishing a painting series of four works dedicated to spreading awareness about sexual assault in her community; her experiences promoting her own work on social media inspired her to become more involved in a wider comminuity of people dedicated to supporting survivors of interpersonal violence. This year, she is looking forward to creating posters and designs for the The Thriving Initiative and getting to form close relationships with such a talented and caring group of people. 

Contact:

pbaldwinson@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Alexus Espino (she/they)

Program Coordinator & Co-Facilitator

Alexus is a fourth year political science major with a minor in history. As a former Basic Needs Advocate, Health & Wellness Advocate, and now current co-facilitator at for Thriving, Not Just Surviving, Alexus is devoted to creating a safe, comfortable, and supportive space for everyone to flourish and thrive together. Alexus is looking forward to learning new modalities of healing alongside program participants and fiercely stands by the Thriving Initiative’s commitment to provide a safe space for survivors of multiple identities to come together and connect on a holistic level that isn’t always achievable in a clinical setting. Alexus encourages potential participants that they will be respected and appreciated at all times!

Contact: aespino@thethrivinginitiative.org

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Emily Speltz (she/her)

Officer of Public Relations

Emily Speltz is a fourth year Psychology and Brain Sciences student at UCSB. She is also pursuing a minor in Spanish. She enjoys learning about the act of communication, processing, and comprehension, so that in practice she can apply what she learned to have better organizational, planning, and coordination skills. She loves working with people, and the subject of interpersonal violence is something she is especially passionate about. This academic school year, she looks forward to organizing new initiatives through the Thriving Initiative program in order to create a variety of different program options for members of the community looking to get involved with the Thriving Initiative.

Contact: espeltz@thethrivinginitiative.org