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Meet the Puente Family

Meet your supportive Puente family.


Puente English Instructor/Coordinator
Humanities, Room 321P

Erica Brenes is beginning her third year with Puente. She has a bachelor's degree from UCLA (go, Bruins!), a master's degree from Cal State Long Beach, and has been teaching college English for five years.

She's a California native who likes hiking, cooking, writing and reading poetry, the beach, and spending time with her little family of three!

Erica Brenes


Puente Counselor/Coordinator
310-660-3593 x3403
Student Services, Room 268

Griselda Castro has been a full-time counselor at El Camino College since fall 2008. She is also an ECC Puente alumna and has an associate degree from El Camino College in business administration, a bachelor's degree from LMU and a master's degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills. 

Griselda came to this country at eight years of age and has lived in the South Bay since.  She attended Perry Middle School and Gardena High. She enjoys a variety of exercise activities as well as walking at the beach and hiking.  She also enjoys traveling and spending time with her two dogs. 

Griselda Castro


Puente Counselor/Coordinator
310-660-3593 x6568
Student Services, Room 266

Maribel Hernandez is one of the counselors and co-coordinator of the Puente Program.  She earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz and her master’s degree in counseling from Cal State Long Beach. 

Even though she was not a Puente student herself, she learned about the Puente Program in her undergraduate research and was so thrilled about this type of program at the community college that she recruited her sister to be a part of the program and became a Puente mentor.  She began counseling at El Camino College in 2005 and was assigned to the Puente Program in 2009 as a part-time counselor but was hired full-time as the Puente counselor and co-coordinator in 2015.

Maribel Hernandez


Puente English Instructor/Coordinator
Humanities, Rm. 321P

Shane Ochoa is a proud Mexican-American who was born and raised in East Los Angeles. He has received a bachelor's degree in English and Master of Arts in English literature and language from California State University, Los Angeles.

He brings with him a strong passion for guiding all students towards academic and personal success and was taught by his father to always fight for the underdog. He currently lives in Long Beach with his beautiful wife and gifted son. He loves border literature and theory, punk scholarship and indie music in its various forms. If there is a drum set around, he is forced to “jam out.”

Shane Ochoa


Puente Counselor

Hi, Puentistas! My name is Bernice Gonzalez, and I am one of the new counselors in Puente. I want to introduce myself to you all. I graduated from El Camino College in 2006 and transferred to California State University, Dominguez Hills where I received my bachelor’s in Chicano/a studies. I furthered my education at CSUDH and obtained my master’s in counseling.

I teach counseling classes at Santa Monica College, and I am a counselor at ECC and Compton College. I am the first in my family to graduate from college. My parents came from Mexico for a better opportunity for their family. They did not attend college, so it was very important for my parents that my siblings and I obtained an education.  I am excited to be back at ECC and to be part of the Puente team and to be able assist Maribel and Griselda.

I will be here Mondays and Wednesdays so stop by if you have any questions. I look forward to meeting you all and supporting you on your academic endeavors. Hope you have a successful semester!

Bernice Gonzalez


Puente Counselor

My name is Masiel Calderon, I am one of the part time Puente Counselors. I am very excited to be a part of such a great program!

I graduated from El Camino College in 2007 and transferred to CSULB, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Chicano and Latino studies, with an emphasis in education, I then returned to CSULB to complete a master’s degree in counseling.  I also teach human development courses on campus.

I am very happy to be able to give back and share my knowledge and experience with fellow Puentistas. I am a first-generation college student and the only one in my family to complete higher education. Because of this, it is very important to me to be able to help students navigate through their academic goals and support students as my family supported me.  I am also very passionate about making sure students receive what they need to be successful while at the community college and beyond.
I am looking forward to meeting all of you.

Masiel Calderon