Spotlight on Staff: Elba Mandujano, Assistant Director of SCORE

Portrait of Elba Mandujano, assistant director of SCORE at Scripps College
Photo by Ellen Hu

Earlier this year, Scripps welcomed Elba Mandujano as the College’s new assistant director of Scripps Communities of Resources and Empowerment (SCORE); SCORE houses many student clubs and organizations and works to build an inclusive community through social justice programming with an emphasis on intersectionality. The Office of Marketing and Communications recently interviewed Mandujano about her thoughts on SCORE’s role in the Scripps community, the experiences that led her to Scripps, and why she loves her job.

Marketing and Communications: How would you describe SCORE’s role in the Scripps community, and what resources does the office provide to students?

Elba Mandujano: We seek to build a community of people dedicated to enhancing and supporting inclusion and equity beyond Scripps College and to nourish a supportive environment in which students feel empowered to learn and explore their identities. Through programming and conversation, we encourage students to explore their intersecting identities and create space for learning and unlearning.

All of SCORE’s resources are in place to support this framework. The living room is used by our clubs and organizations (CLORGs) to hold gatherings or for individual students who need a welcoming space to share. Being able to show up authentically is so important, and we hope that through everything we offer at SCORE, students can show up holistically. We encourage our community to stay updated on our upcoming events by following our Instagram account and reading our weekly SCORE e-newsletters.

MC: Can you tell us a little more about your work as assistant director?

EM: My primary focus is the day-to-day operation of the SCORE office. This includes supervising and training our interns, overseeing the programming efforts of our staff and the larger Scripps community, and maintaining the SCORE space as a welcoming and educational environment for all Scripps community members. I also serve as the First Generation @ Scripps coordinator, so I’m responsible for the First Gen Pre-Orientation and graduation celebration, working with the First Gen interns to provide programming, and collaborating with faculty, staff, and departments to provide opportunities focused on the First Gen experience. Lastly, I serve as the advisor for the identity-based CLORGs housed within SCORE by providing support to each club, facilitating the CLORG Collective meetings, and creating opportunities for club and organization collaboration.

MC: What professional or personal experiences helped prepare you for your work at Scripps?

EM: As a muxer (woman), first generation, bilingual, working-class, queer BIPOC, and hood feminist, my experiences and understanding of my intersecting identities was my first introduction to the importance of social justice work. Through my undergraduate and graduate journeys, I was always involved and invested in organizing and activism both on and off campus. Through my education, organizing work, and professional experiences, I developed a strong commitment to student retention, engagement, advocacy, and equity in higher education, focusing on centering the experiences of our most vulnerable students. This lens has always guided my work in and out of higher education. Lastly, the understanding that I am a lifelong learner has also prepared me for my work at Scripps. I am a student/learner as much as I am an educator, and it is important for me to also continue growing to be the best version of myself.

MC: Why do you love your job?

EM: As a community-made muxer, I love the connections and relationships I have built with many students, faculty, and staff at Scripps and across The Claremont Colleges. I am community driven, and the nature of my role allows me to tap into my love for building, nourishing, and investing in relationships and community. I love that I can create space for storytelling and engage in dialogue that widens our comfort zones.