Employee of the Month - March 2024

Donna De Loera, Campus Assessment and Stabilization Team (CAST) Program Coordinator
Health and Wellness Administration, Division of Student Affairs

Awarded Tuesday, March 19, 2024, via Zoom Virtual celebration. Donna was joined by President Jane Close Conoley, Associate Vice President of Health and Wellness Administration Damian Zavala, University Police Chief John Brockie, and numerous Student Affairs and campus colleagues.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and one of the Program Coordinators for the Campus Assessment and Stabilization Team (CAST) in the Division of Student Affairs, Donna De Loera embodies compassion, dedication, and unwavering commitment.

CAST is a mobile mental health team, in collaboration with the University Police Department (UPD) that assists in responding to mental health and behavioral health crisis calls occurring in the campus community. They support students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Sergeant Liz Henriquez from the University Police Department (UPD) wrote a heartfelt email to Damian Zavala, the AVP of Health and Wellness Administration, capturing a critical moment when Donna’s impact on CSULB’s students was profound. “Mr. Zavala, I just wanted to express the great job Donna…[did] in assisting UPD. On [12-7-23], I was doing a patrol of the Beachside Community. As I drove in the alley behind the Pacific building, I noticed a young lady sitting at the lunch tables. The young lady was sitting by herself and was crying. I asked if she was ok and if I could help her with anything. She said ‘No.’ I could obviously see she was in need of talking with someone. I told her about our partners in CAST, ‘Who are not in uniform,’ and asked if she would talk to them. She said she would.

“Donna responded to our location and spoke with the young student. Donna did a great job, calmed the student and made her feel better. By the end of their contact, the student agreed to take information for resources available to her as a student. This is a great example why Donna…[is] vital to UPD. I hope that we continue our partnership with the program.”

Damian Zavala expressed his appreciation for Donna, saying, “Donna is a valued resource for our students and our campus. Underneath her welcoming and unassuming disposition is a wealth of experience and knowledge that is able to engage students from a trauma-informed perspective. She is consistently student-centered while managing difficult situations, mitigating risk, and ensuring safety. As the first member of our [CAST], Donna set a high standard of professionalism and service. Congratulations, Donna on this well-deserved recognition.”

Reflecting on her own experience, Donna shared, “I have a passion for and commitment to supporting my community's emotional health and wellbeing. I’m grateful to be in a role here at CSULB where I can create awareness about mental health, challenge the stigma surrounding it, and provide immediate care to those who might benefit from it.

“I am a proud alumnus of CSULB. I received my Masters in Social Work from CSULB, with an emphasis in Integrated Health. Prior to becoming a staff member at CSULB, I worked in community mental health supporting children, youth, and families, as well as advocating for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.”

In her free time, Donna enjoys running, hiking, listening to oldies, watching live music, and spending time with her family.