Highlighting the amazing Administration, Faculty, Classified Professionals, and Students that make up our pirate family. 

This month's highlights include:

 Caren Braza (student),  Faith Bustos (classified),  James Zavas (administrator),  Sania Zaidi-Merchant (faculty)

Caren Braza, ASVC Director of Administration

Caren Braza

Name: Caren Braza

Role: ASVC Director of Administration

Major: Psychology

Years at VC: 2

Family: I am Filipino-American, I have 3 older siblings and 2 dogs.

Hobbies: Drawing, dancing, journaling. 

Favorite food: Crepes

Favorite Movie: A Cinderella Story

Favorite Song: Still Into You - Paramore

Something unique or interesting about you: I am double-jointed!

Faith Bustos, Office Assistant, Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs
Faith Bustos at ventura county fair

Name: Faith Bustos

Role: Office Assistant, Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs

Years at VC: 1 year 7 months

Family: I have a younger brother who attends VC. I also have two doggies; a Norfolk Terrier and a Doberman Pinscher

Hobbies: I love to travel, camp, and attend country concerts

Favorite food: Basil tomato chicken

Favorite Movie: Despicable Me

Favorite Song: Anything Josh Turner!

Something unique or interesting about you: I graduated high school at 16, so I got to begin my journey as a college student a little sooner than usual.

James Zavas, Acting Vice President, Business and Administrative Services 
photo of james zavas

Name: James Zavas

Role: Acting Vice President, Business and Administrative Services 

Years at VC: I started at the District Office in December 2020, so nearly 3 years.  I came to Ventura College in this role at the beginning of September.

Family: I'm married and have two stepchildren who are both in college.  One of them is at VC.  We also have two extremely spoiled dogs and a spoiled cat that we consider part of the family.  

Hobbies: I'm an avid motorcyclist and love riding all the back roads in the area.  I hope to do a cross country trip sometime in the near future.  I'm a huge music fan and collector of vinyl records. I also really enjoy working in my yard. 

Favorite food: This is an impossible question.  I think a lot of it depends on my mood, the weather, and where I am at.  I love to cook in general, but I am particularly fond of Barbequing and Smoking Meats.  I have also recently started making my own sausages and bratwursts.  

Favorite Movie: My favorite movie is probably the Original Star Wars series.  I always end up going back to those.  For my favorite book, I think I will go with the Martian, with Ready Player One in a close second.  Really, I love anything book that allows you to escape into a different world, time or place.  I've been particularly fond of Fantasy and Science Fiction lately.  

Favorite Song: Bruce Springsteen - Jungleland.  I could probably name at least a dozen more songs that I love or are really important to me, but this one has always been at the top of the list.

Something unique or interesting about you: I grew up in the middle of nowhere outside of Redding California.  We had a small ranch with nearly every animal you could think of and I raised pigs in 4H.

Sania Zaidi-Merchant, Anatomy & Physiology Instructor
Sania Zaida Merchant

Name: Sania Zaidi-Merchant

Role: Anatomy & Physiology Instructor

Years at VC: 10 months

Family: Husband (Zulfiquar, Safety Engineer & District Manager, OSHA) and Son (Zain, 14 who just started High School)

Hobbies: Reading, Painting, Hiking, Traveling, Baking, and Watching History Channel.

Favorite Food: Mediterranean 

Favorite Book: Too many to list but The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas holds a special place in my heart.

Favorite Song: What wonderful world

Something unique or interesting about you: I grew up in Doha Qatar so I can speak, read, and write Arabic.

Employee Life
Ventura College