FPF Staff

Being new to campus can be challenging, but we’re here to help our students feel at home. FPF Advisors mentor and coach students through their first semester at Berkeley and beyond.

Tara Young, M.A.

Director, Fall Program for Freshmen

B.A. Sociology, New York University

M.A. Higher Education, University of Michigan

Undocu-Ally and Trained in Gender Inclusion

Tara manages instructors, staff and policy.  As a first-gen college graduate and former L&S College Adviser, Tara is passionate about teaching students to ask the right questions and find resources. She is always mindful of the challenge that transitions can be, and her goal is to assist students with their own involvement in UCB by offering them options and showing them how to successfully engage in their studies. Two fun facts about Tara are that she loves Star Trek TOS and is a trained genealogist!

E-mail Tara

Office Phone: (510) 643-0379 (email is preferred)

Brandon Castillo Basa

Academic Advisor

B.A. Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Brandon was born in Hayward, raised in Sacramento, and has lived in the Bay Area since attending college. As a first-generation college graduate, he has lived through the student experience as an FPF and EOP alumnus at UC Berkeley and is passionate about helping others find their own success. When Brandon is not drinking boba or eating something delicious, he is most likely playing guitar and singing or watching a Sacramento Kings basketball game.

E-mail Brandon

Office Phone: (510) 643-0375 (email as we are remote)

Sara Gamboa, M.A.

Academic Advisor

B.A. Liberal Studies with a Concentration in Special Education, Chico State University

M.A. Counseling, Saint Mary's College

Sara is a Bay Area native, but currently lives in the Lone Star State of Texas with her husband and daughter. She considers herself a first generation student, as her mom Sherry (Berkeley grad!) and her attended college during the same time frame, just on two different campuses! Sara especially enjoys assisting students in the identification of support services and resources on campus associated with the transition from high school to college, as well as assisting students in finding ways to maximize their experience and time on campus. As a former L&S College Adviser (2007-2018), Sara greatly admires and appreciates the dedication and commitment Berkeley staff and faculty have towards their diverse student population. In Sara's spare time, she enjoys experimenting with new recipes, hiking, taking day trips, and binge watching Moana with her two year-old daughter!

E-mail Sara

Office Phone: (510) 642-5996 (email as we are remote)

Francesca Rivera

Program Specialist

B.A. Music, Sarah Lawrence College

M.A. Ethnomusicology, University of California, Berkeley

Francesca provides support to the FPF faculty and advisors so that they have the resources they need to support FPF students. Before joining FPF, she has worked a variety of jobs including: chorus manager, concert producer, equity and diversity analyst, candy vendor, and ethnomusicologist. When she's not in the office, she's either refilling her coffee mug, playing music, streaming shows, or working towards a new powerlifting personal record.

E-mail Francesca

Office Phone: (510) 642-5001 or (510) 643-0379

Brandon Fong

Student Assistant

B.A. Candidate in Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Brandon is from a desert in Southern California called Palm Springs. He is currently attending Berkeley and will plan to graduate in 2022 with a degree in Economics and a minor in Data Science. In his time at Cal, he has volunteered in a mentorship club for middle schoolers and he has also taught free online classes to high schoolers in the summer. In his free time, he enjoys watching basketball, exploring San Francisco, and playing video games.

E-mail Brandon


Office Location and Hours

FPF is at 1995 University Avenue, Suite 200 (Golden Bear Center), Berkeley, CA 94704-7040
We sit on the territory of xučyun (Huichin), the ancestral and unceded land of the Chochenyo speaking Ohlone people, the successors of the sovereign Verona Band of Alameda County.

Fall Semester Advising Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 9:00 AM-4:00 PM; Wed 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
Please call or email fpf@berkeley.edu in advance to set up a remote appointment.  


The Fall Program for Freshmen (FPF) was established in 1983 at the request of Chancellor Michael Heyman as a way to better accommodate students admitted to Berkeley for the spring semester and to serve more California residents in the freshman class. Since then, FPF has evolved from a program for "spring admits" to a thriving learning community that gives Berkeley freshmen an edge in their first year by starting small.  Presently UC Berkeley no longer offers spring admission for freshmen. After 2017, FPF served only in the city of Berkeley and no longer in San Francisco.  In Fall 2020, FPF's home is 1995 University Avenue.  

FPF is sponsored by UC Berkeley Extension in conjunction with the College of Letters & Science and is open to all incoming freshmen admitted to the College of Letters & Science at Berkeley, including out-of-state and international students. All Berkeley freshmen admitted to the College of Letters & Science for the fall semester are eligible to choose FPF as a unique academic opportunity for their first term.

FPF students are full-time matriculated​ UC Berkeley students, who enjoy all of the same resources as their classmates on the main campus, with the added plus of starting their academic career in a small community within the larger university.

Student Advising, by the Numbers



received 1-on-1 advising

during Fall 2020