Meet the Staff


Meet Justine

Justine Cheung, Bridging Success Coordinator Senior

Welcome to ASU Bridging Success! My name is Justine Cheung and this is my fifth year as the program coordinator for the University’s year-round student success program for students with foster care backgrounds. ASU Bridging Success is here to support any student who was involved with the child welfare system using a holistic, trauma informed, coaching model that lets our students prioritize their needs and goals. Watching our students grow, achieve, thrive, and graduate is our greatest joy! They are amazing young people who make coming to work every day an absolute pleasure.

On a more personal level, I have both an undergraduate and graduate degree in social work. I am also very active in research with my areas of interest including both former foster youth in higher education and mental health recovery. My professional career has included working for a non-profit providing peer-support services to people diagnosed with a serious mental illness, conducting research with international refugees and social entrepreneurship, and working in the public health sector.


Meet Piper

Piper Friedman, Graduate Service Assistant

My name is Piper Friedman and I am a second year Master of Social Work student specializing in Policy, Administration, and Community Practice here at ASU. I completed my Bachelors degree at the University of Denver in International Relations focusing on women and children’s issues throughout the world. Additionally I began my social work career working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence at the University of Denver and educating my peers on resources and support available to them. Here at ASU I am a part of the Child Welfare Education Program focusing on child welfare efforts through a partnership with the Arizona Department of Child Safety. My passion in life is working with children and students to advocate for their best interests and coming up with lasting solutions to ensure success for their futures. I am very excited to be part of Bridging Success and to support my fellow Sun Devils!


Meet Osha

Osha Sempel, Bridging Success Clinical Coordinator

Welcome to Bridging Success Early Start! My name is Osha Sempel and I oversee the Bridging Success Early Start program. Our program helps students with a foster care background successfully transition to ASU. We focus on introducing our students to the campus community while providing focused support and instruction to prepare them for academic and personal success at ASU. In addition, Bridging Success Early Start is a valuable opportunity for students to build early connections with staff and peers.

I come to ASU with almost 9 years of social work experience having worked in both New Orleans and the Caribbean. My primary focus as a social worker has been centered on working with children, adults, and families impacted by trauma. While a practicing clinical social worker in New Orleans, I worked alongside teachers and administrators to design and build trauma-informed programming and strategies for students and families in public schools. I have specialized experience and training helping individuals and families through trauma, grief, and loss. Additionally, my career has included working with adult survivors of sexual trauma and their families as well as community organizing and non-profit program development while creating and providing HIV/AIDS prevention in the Caribbean. I am passionate about resilience-focused practices when addressing individuals, family systems, and communities impacted by trauma.


Meet Melissa

Melissa Beecher, Management Intern


My name is Melissa Beecher and I am the Management Intern for Community Outreach. My passion is to create greater educational and life opportunities for all youth and families. Before working at ASU, I gained experience working with youth and families in tribal social services. Currently I support program development, planning and implementation for Community Outreach. I am committed to making the Early Start program a success and to supporting your success at ASU.

“My grandmother always emphasized that if you are talking about how things should be better, then you need to be the one to make that change. I have talked a lot about how things could be better and am now gaining the skills to create successful programs for the community. Bridging Success and Early Start echo this mentality that we need to prepare youth for the amazing journey to higher education so they can realize their ideas and dreams.” Besides working at ASU, I recently completed my Master’s degree in Social Work and in Fall 2019 will graduate with a second Master's degree in Public Administration. While juggling a family, school, and work I gain inspiration from being creative as an electric bass player and songwriter and from filmmaking experiences and cultural teachings. I have two music albums on iTunes and an associate producer credit on a documentary on Amazon Prime.

Meet our Peer Mentors


Meet Yaritza

Yaritza Hernandez Gil, Lead Peer Mentor

My name is Yaritza Hernandez and I am a junior pursuing my undergraduate degrees in Sustainability and Innovation in Society. An advocate who is passionate about providing global humanitarian aid and long-term development to individuals in crisis; seeking to attain a higher quality of life through the utilization of my exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. As a first-generation student, being part of the Bridging Success program has helped me all throughout college knowing that I always have someone there for me from academics to personal situations. I have really enjoyed my time with the Bridging Success staff so I decided I wanted to be part of it, share my experiences and be a mentor along the way for new Sun Devils.


Meet Brittany

Brittany Skaggs

My name is Brittany Skaggs, and I am entering my senior year at ASU as a psychology major. I enjoy anything art or music related and am interested in leading an environmentally friendly, cruelty-free lifestyle. Being a peer mentor for this program gives me great pleasure because I am able to provide the same kind of assistance that prepared me for my transition to college back in 2016. Bridging Success Early start made a positive difference in my transition to college and I am so excited for your chance to experience this first hand in the week ahead.


Meet Kai

Kai Sanford

Hi! My name is Kai Sanford. I'm a rising sophomore studying Computer Science with a focus on Cybersecurity at Arizona State University. I'm minoring in Forensics and mathematics, so I'm hoping to become a cyber analyst and work for the government to protect private information from getting into the wrong hands. I'm highly involved in clubs on campus. I'm a member of the AI Club, Engineering Futures Scholars, Grand Challenges of Engineering, and EPICS, so I'm working hard to further understand engineering concepts in everyday life. Outside of engineering, I'm a part of the Devil's Advocates, the Student Admissions Relations Team (START), and I'm VP of our schools breakdancing team. Overall just a hardworking student trying to make her dream come true.


Meet Maria

Maria Rubio

Hi! My name is Maria Rubio and I am a sophomore majoring in Elementary Education. In my free time I love to go on mini road trips, go hiking, and go to amusement parks/arcades! I love, love, love cats... and dogs! Being a peer mentor was something I wanted to do since I attended early start my freshman year because of the impact my peer mentors had on me! Overall, my experience with Bridging Success has been only positive things and has helped me create some amazing friendships!