La Vida Dominican

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). 

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La Vida Dominican is a pivotal program made possible through HSI grant funding. At its core, La Vida serves to increase educational access and connection to support services for students at Dominican, enabling degree completion and post-graduation success. The program consists of two student-centric elements: La Vida Dominican for undergraduate, and La Vida Dominican Postbaccalaureate for graduate students. While La Vida serves all students at Dominican, it’s centering experiences of students from Latinx and other historically underserved backgrounds, providing additional targeted support. 

The program offers inclusive and holistic programming, individual attention from 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 to ensure your success during and after college.

We are here to serve all Dominican students, regardless of background, ethnicity, or academic standing. Whether you are an incoming, undergraduate or graduate, 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.

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

Launching Your La Vida Dominican

As a La Vida undergraduate Dominican student,  you have access to a wide range of resources tailored to meet your individual needs. From personalized coaching sessions to cultural events and workshops, we offer  holistic educational experiences that embrace your background and aspirations.

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

Please contact for more information.


La Vida Dominican Postbaccalaureate (LVDP) supports all graduate students both in preparing for and succeeding in their chosen graduate program at Dominican. Staff and faculty model an inclusive and welcoming campus for all students while supporting students individually to – and beyond – successful degree completion.

La Vida’s Graduate Resource Center provides a host of services, including:

  • Academic Support
  • Access & connection advocacy
  • Inclusivity & belonging programming
  • Mentorship and integrative coaching services
  • Guidance in your Dominican Experience
  • Fieldwork (including internships, clinical/applied placements, etc.)
  • Professional and career development (e.g., building a public resume, digital portfolio, etc.)
  • Completing your culminating project or signature work toward the end of your program (e.g., thesis, dissertation, final project, etc.) and preparing to present this work at conferences and to prospective employers

In addition to merit and other scholarship and financial aid opportunities available to all students, LVDP offers direct financial help for graduate students with demonstrated need through a limited number of competitive scholarships and assistantships. All students should consult with the Office of Financial Aid to learn more about Graduate Tuition and Aid.

Please contact for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the Avanza program Provide?

Get ready for a transformative start as you transition into college life. From day one, you will 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.

Who is the Avanza program for?

This program is specifically tailored for incoming Dominican undergraduate students 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. 

Where And When Will Avanza Take Place?

The virtual launch will take place in early August. 

Regardless of whether you are 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

What the Avanza Program Offers You.

You will have the incredible opportunity to jumpstart your college transition by moving onto campus before everyone else arrives and 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 will have the advantage of completing a 2-unit course during the program. This means you will be one step ahead in your academic journey, gaining valuable knowledge and skills that will set you up for success.

How Much Does Participating in the Avanza Summer Bridge Program Cost? 

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 and all of the delicious meals are on us!  

Questions? Contact

Where is the Graduate Resource Center?

In the newly renovated Center for the Dominican Experience, opening Spring 2024!

What services are available through the Graduate Resource Center?

  • Mentorship, including through Graduate Integrative Coaching
  • Access and Connection Advocacy
  • Inclusion and Belonging programming
  • Support with the Dominican Experience, including fieldwork, professional and career development, signature works and the Scholarly Research and Creative Works Conference

Questions? Contact

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!

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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! The 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. Learn more in our FAQ.

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Graduate Resource Center

The Graduate Resource Center is both a physical and virtual space designed specifically for Dominican’s graduate students. We understand the needs of graduate students are often different from undergraduate students. With a centralized location inside the Center for the Dominican Experience, any graduate student can easily access our wide variety of services and opportunities.

La Vida Dominican Team

Leah Ozeroff headshot

Leah Ozeroff, EdD, MA

Director of Educational Effectiveness Director of La Vida Dominican
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Lindsey Dean, PhD

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs La Vida Dominican Director
Jordan Lieser

Jordan Lieser, PhD

Associate Professor, History La Vida Dominican Postbaccalaureate Assistant Director
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Josue Castillo

La Vida Dominican Student & Summer Bridge Program Coordinator La Vida Dominican Integrative Coach
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Lucia León, PhD

Assistant Professor, Latino Studies and Social Justice
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Melinda Becker

Adjunct Professor
Laura Hess

Laura Greiss Hess, PhD, OTR/L

Associate Professor
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Louis Knecht, MLIS

University Archivist, Reference and Instruction Librarian
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Sarah Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management
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Steven Polacco, MFA

Associate Professor Chair of Art and Communication Media Studies

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