La Vida Dominican

group of students smiling

At Dominican University of California, we embrace our vibrant and diverse student community. In recognition of our commitment to serving our students, Dominican has been named a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) by the U.S. Department of Education, and is both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). 

La Vida Dominican is an exceptional program made possible through HSI grant funding. It is designed to empower your academic success, cultivate a strong sense of belonging, and unlock personal and professional growth within our dynamic Latinx and BIPOC community. We prioritize the celebration of culture as well as student-centered and family-centered work to fully support and embrace you throughout your journey at Dominican.

With dedicated staff and faculty who are committed to culturally inclusive and holistic programming, Integrative Coaches who proudly embrace their multicultural identity, experienced Faculty Fellows who understand the unique aspects of the Dominican Experience, and Peer Mentors who identify as students of color, first-generation, and bilingual, you can feel confident that our La Vida Dominican team will provide you with the guidance and resources that will ensure your success during and after college.

Launching Your La Vida Dominican

We are here to serve our students, regardless of background, ethnicity, or academic standing. Whether you are an incoming or continuing first-generation student, a person of color, and/or seeking additional guidance and resources, La Vida Dominican is here to support and celebrate you.

As a La Vida Dominican student, you will have access to a wide range of resources tailored to meet your individual needs. From personalized coaching sessions to cultural events and workshops, we will provide you with a holistic educational experience that embraces your background and aspirations.

For incoming students, La Vida Dominican offers the Avanza Summer Bridge program. If you do not participate in Avanza, La Vida Dominican still invites all of our students to participate in year-long cultural programming and events.

Stay in the loop and be in the know! Don't forget to join our mailing list by sending us a message to and follow us on Instagram @lavidaduc, where you'll receive regular updates and important information.

Avanza Summer Bridge Program

Are you an incoming Dominican undergraduate student who identifies as Latino/a, Black, Indigenous, a person of color, or a first-generation student? The Avanza Summer Bridge Program is designed specifically to welcome you and support your transition to becoming a part of the campus community. Our program aims to provide a sense of belonging right from the start, offering an extended network of support, access to invaluable resources, personalized guidance, and a strong, dedicated community to help you thrive academically and personally.

Get ready for a transformative start as you transition into college life. From day one, you'll have the chance to forge valuable relationships with faculty, staff, mentors, and fellow students in your incoming class, building a strong community that will be with you every step of the way. 

  • 2-unit course in the summer before the students’ first year.
  • Mix of virtual and in-person programming that includes a virtual launch event and a week-long residence experience.
  • The Avanza classroom for the “La Lucha Sigue: Educated, Proud, Powerful” course is a space to empower your scholarly voice and power as an incoming Dominican student. You will be introduced to Latinx, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) scholars and their tools to expand our understanding of BIPOC students and communities in the United States. By centering BIPOC students’ experiences, and the activist and academic efforts to expand educational equity, you will reflect on your lived experience, community, and social justice. 
  • Interactive Avanza activities will include course readings and discussions, podcasts, social media, current events, films/movie nights, shared meals, and field trips.
  • Engaging workshops will introduce you to campus resources and services, equipping you with the knowledge, guidance, and network you need to thrive academically and personally.

This program is specifically tailored for incoming Dominican undergraduate students just like you! 

  • If you identify as Latinx, Black, Indigenous, a person of color, and/or first-generation who is seeking a strong sense of belonging right from the start, then the Avanza Summer Bridge Program is for you. 
  • We believe in creating a community that celebrates diversity and honors the unique experiences you bring to our university. 

We can’t wait to welcome you to an exciting week-long residential experience with the Avanza Summer Bridge Program! 

  • The virtual launch will take place in early August. 
  • Regardless of whether you're a commuter student or planning to live on campus for the academic year, you'll have the opportunity to move into the residence halls during the in-person program. This begins the week before Orientation, so mark your calendars for Avanza
  • You will have the incredible opportunity to jumpstart your college transition by moving onto campus before everyone else arrives. 
  • You will have the chance to explore our beautiful campus, connect with resources, and get to know your surroundings, ensuring a seamless and confident start to the fall semester. 
  • As an Avanza participant, you'll have the advantage of completing a 2-unit course during the program. This means you'll be one step ahead in your academic journey, gaining valuable knowledge and skills that will set you up for success.
  • Avanza is free! 
  • The 2 units that you receive for completing the course are not billed to your tuition. 
  • The rooms are provided at no-cost to participants during the week of the program 
  • All of the delicious meals are on us!  

Un mensaje para familias con estudiantes de primera generación

Oscar, current Master's in Occupational Therapy student, has a message for families with first generation students. See his message below!

Watch Video

La Vida Dominican Team

dominican seal

Lindsey Dean, PhD

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs La Vida Dominican Director
dominican seal

Lucia León

Assistant Professor, Latino Studies and Social Justice
Josue Castillo headshot

Josue Castillo

La Vida Dominican Student & Summer Bridge Program Coordinator La Vida Dominican Integrative Coach
dominican seal

Melinda Becker

Adjunct Professor
Leah Ozeroff headshot

Leah Ozeroff, EdD, MA

Director of Educational Effectiveness
dominican seal

Laura Greiss Hess, PhD, OTR/L

Assistant Professor
Louis Knecht headshot

Louis Knecht, MLIS

University Archivist, Reference and Instruction Librarian
sarah lee profile

Sarah Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management
Steven Polaco headshot

Steven Polacco, MFA

Associate Professor Chair and Director of Graphic Design Program

Contact Us