Brie Ortega has been hired as a temporary adviser to Norman Topping Student Aid Fund scholars.
NTSAF Governing Board Chair Sierra Williams announced the addition of Ortega to the Fund in a letter to scholars and Governing Board members late last month.
Ortega’s hiring comes after Christina Yokoyama’s termination as program director in February. Provost Michael Quick announced then the removal of the NTSAF program director position as a part of an effort to restructure the program. Yokoyama served as director for 11 years, supporting first-generation, low-income and underrepresented USC students in the program.
Many scholars and former Governing Board Chairs opposed the decision to remove her position.
“The NTSAF is a student-funded, student-administered and student-led initiative, yet the decision to reorganize was devoid of any student voice,” the NTSAF Governing Board chairs wrote in a letter published in the Daily Trojan in early January. “We are requesting a reversal on the decision to remove the program director position, and that senior administration begins to work collaboratively with instead of against the governing board.”
Ortega received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Berkeley and attended UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where she received her master’s degree in social welfare. Her official first day at NTSAF was May 29.
“After [Yokoyama’s] removal, a lot of students were complaining about the lack of support or the lack of full-time staff in the office,” Williams said. “In order to make up for that lack of social support . . . they hired [Ortega] so that students can have another person to talk to aside from the associate director as well as Dr. Andrea Hodge, who is the vice provost of undergraduate programs.”