Resident Assistants

CalArt's Resident Assistants gathered around for a picture

About the RA Staff

The community of the residence halls is maintained and enhanced by a Residence Life staff, which includes 12 Resident Assistants (RAs). RAs are returning students who have been chosen to assist the Residence Life staff with residents and their housing needs.


  • Have been trained in first aid and CPR
  • Offer personal support to students
  • Facilitate better social contact among residents by organizing activities and special events
  • Provide an escort for those residents walking to the dorms or their car at night, as requested
  • Provide referral information to students who seek help
  • Maintain strict confidentiality regarding personal problems shared with them and are the front line negotiators in room conflicts, and are helpful in resolving conflicts
  • Manage the Residence Life facilities after office hours
  • Have regularly scheduled, posted in-room hours 

RA Bios

Resident Assistant - Arden DiManno

Program: Film and Video

Year: BFA 2

Favorite Thing About CalArts: I love the collaboration! Learning about and expanding my knowledge on other art forms and gathering with other artists to make an idea a reality.

Passions: I’m currently working for the film/video department doing inventory and curating orientation for incoming students! I’m also producing two films;  a short and a feature! My favorite thing is going out on spontaneous adventures and trying new things…definitely helps my story telling.

Advice for Incoming Students: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your classmates! If you want to create something and you find someone that can help with your idea, they’re probably down to help you out. I’d also say go walk around and explore Santa Clarita! You’ll find some pretty cool gems- restaurants, shops and hiking trails!

Fun Fact: I can wiggle my nose!!! I usually do it to the song “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo.


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Resident Assistant - Brent Charles

Program: Theatre/Acting

Year: BFA 4

Favorite Thing About CalArts: The Diversity and Faculty Mentorship.

Passions: I am a Company Member at Independent Shakespeare Company. I am also a Proud Member of the Chickasaw Nation.

Advice for Incoming Students: Meet students outside of your Metier and COLLABORATE. Develop and Devise your own work!

Fun Fact: I was the Recipient of the 2021 Tim Disney Prize for Excellence in Storytelling.


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Resident Assistant - Cheyenne Knehans

Program: Applied Arts

Year: MFA2

Favorite Thing About CalArts: Creative Community!

Passions: I am a studio artist making the leap to visual development. I am involved in CalArts TEA and CalArts Theatre. I have had the honor to exhibit work in Jun Kaneko's gallery in Omaha as well as a dozen other galleries in the country. In 2019, I got to help paint set pieces for Disney's The Little Mermaid Live! that later appeared on television. 

Advice for Incoming Students: Don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and ask for what you need!

Fun Fact: I am a Golden Girls fanatic and constantly find ways to incorporate the iconic series into my artwork. If asked which lady I am most like, I would have to say I am a Rose at heart! 


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Resident Assistant - Christina Woo

Program: Film & Video/Character Animation

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: Free popcorn on Wednesdays!

Passions: I am an aspiring director and screenwriter. I recently made it into a few film festivals with my student films I created at CalArts! I am also involved in Extended Studies Summer Programs Alum and TA, Library Circulation Student Assistant, Character Animation Teaching Assistant, and I am a Food Enthusiast.

Advice for Incoming Students: Take classes outside your metier! You get to meet people from all walks of life and learn something new while you're at it. You can also find a lot of your textbooks through the CalArts Library. You can rent movies and videos at the Film Library!

Fun Fact: I am fueled by my love of watching films and tv, improv, and eating tacos. When not at CalArts, I can be found petting stray cats and exploring my natural romping grounds of Southern California.


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Resident Assistant - Celeste Ollivier

Program: Musical Arts & Experimental Pop

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts:  Freedom for Experimentation! 

Passions: I work for an experimental music festival called High Desert Soundings that takes place in Joshua Tree! I like to collage & kiss my dog. I'm a transfer student who took a leave of absence to work on a TV show!

Advice for Incoming Students: Allow yourself room to grow, try new things, and have fun with everything you do!

Fun Fact: I was born in France and I have a phobia of whales. I’ve written, directed and acted in my own plays. I'm a transfer student and have taken a leave of absence to work on a TV show! 


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Resident Assistant - Cian Pickron

Program: ​​Theater-Stage Management

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: The artistic environment it creates and allows for students to work on any idea anytime the inspiration strikes.

Passions: I currently am working for a non-profit theatre company that is based in Maryland, on campus I will most likely be seen building sets in the shop or in the Management Office.

Advice for Incoming Students: Take time either late at night or on a weekend to explore the school when there aren't many people! There are so many cool spaces I found just exploring campus when I couldn't sleep or when I needed a break from work. 

Fun Fact: I am ranked internationally in Stage Management through the International Thespian Society for receiving two overall superiors on my prompt books! 


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Resident Assistant - Emily Tschirhart

Program: Music-Voice Arts

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts:  The collabs, the talented artists, and the amazing teachers!

Passions: I love movies, film scoring, performing, writing, jamming, and eating beets.

Advice for Incoming Students: Be open to new experiences and ideas. Say yes to new opportunities and things you haven't done before. Now is the time!

Fun Fact: I got to be a part of the 2019 Capitol Records Jazz CD, and record my original song in Studio A.


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Resident Assistant - Jeffrey Gibson

Program: ​​Acting

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: I loved move-in day the most! Getting to meet everyone in my class and live on my own for the very first time in my life was so exciting and surreal. The entire orientation week of games and activities were EPIC: capture the flag, the pool party, the movie nights!! What a blast!

Passions: I work for a company called Let's Celebrate Entertainment and they put on lots of fun parties for kids. I also volunteer my time helping out Independent Shakespeare Company put on their festival shows at Griffith Park. I am extremely passionate about chess, the Dallas Cowboys, and being a puppy enthusiast.

Advice for Incoming Students: Some of my favorite spots in Valencia to go enjoy a good coffee are Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders and also Honu Coffee has a dirty chai to die for. I also recommend visiting the Movita Juice Bar in Valencia for some really quality acai bowls! Be sure to check out the sub level on campus and remember to have lots of fun during your time at CalArts. 

Fun Facts: I am left-handed. I have once jumped from an airplane that was 11,000 feet in the air. I have met some inspiring people along the way as an artist here in Los Angeles. A few of my favorites are: Bryan Cranston, George Clooney, Charlie Day, The Black Eyed Peas, and R. Lee Ermey. I am also a Scareactor with Halloween Horror Nights. My dad's family is from France and my mom's family is from Taiwan.


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Resident Assistant - Jordan Foley

Program: Herb Albert/ VoiceArts

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: It's hard to pick just one! One thing I love about CalArts the most is the community it instills within its artists. Everyone is so supportive and driven to create that it inspires other artists and helps the artist feel safe putting their own work out there, which is so intimate and can sometimes be a little scary. CalArts creates a large-scale family with everyone underneath its roof and it's really beautiful.

Passions: I am a professional party princess and also work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Peter Pan Foundation!

Advice for Incoming Students: My advice is to explore CalArts and even SCV to find your spots where you can go when you feel stressed, need a space to yourself, or just need somewhere you feel comfortable to do whatever you need to do for yourself or your studies. There are so many hidden gems all over campus and SCV that there is certainly a spot for everyone that speaks to them, you just have to look. 

Fun Fact: I was the youngest contestant in history on the X-Factor!


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Resident Assistant - Justine Gorry

Program: ​​Acting

Year: BFA 2

Favorite Thing About CalArts:  The feeling of community that comes with being surrounded by creative kindred spirits! 

Passions: I have been involved on campus in several roles! I served as the Interim First Year Rep for Student Union, a Member of the Sustainability Committee and an Orientation Leader!

Advice for Incoming Students: Breathe! This whole experience can be overwhelming, but you have people here to support you. Nervousness, and even fear may come, but don’t let those feelings stop you from shining as bright as you can here at CalArts. Say yes to opportunities, because you’ll find that you are equipped for the challenge- that’s why you’re here after all. You got accepted for a reason. You belong, so don’t let the doubt creep in! You’ve got this. Get weird, create, learn, and have a great time doing it! 

Fun Fact: Before transferring to CalArts, I studied to receive my AA in Psychology. I also fully understand (but only partially speak) Tagalog, and lived in the Philippines for a few years growing up!


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Resident Assistant - Quinn Argent

Program: Music-Jazz

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: CalArts is a very unique and special place. You are encouraged to question your own artistic fundamentals. While teachers are always there to support and give you feedback, they also always push you to challenge and explore the things that you are interested in. Not giving answers in terms of right and wrong, but encouraging you to come to terms with your own creative voice.

Passions: Outside of music, I love being active and being around people who encourage me to grow and develop as a person. I am originally from Colorado and I have always loved being in nature and taking time to appreciate the natural beauty of the mountains. During this past year I was fortunate enough to live with some really amazing people and that experience has reinforced my passion for growth and learning from the people around me. I have also gotten more into cooking and it is something that I am really enjoying!

Advice for Incoming Students: My advice for new students would be to find balance between everything that is important to you. It is easy to feel lost or frustrated when you are studying something you really care about and love. Understand that this is your journey and try not to compare yourself to anyone else. While working on your art is incredibly important,  finding balance so that you are able to be present and give your all in every aspect of your life will translate much better towards success and stability.  

Fun Fact: I’m a huge lover of scary stories/ stories with unexpected endings. There is something so fascinating about a main plotline being impacted by a hidden narrative that isn’t revealed until the end of a film. That is my favorite part. The twist. I love asking people if they have any scary stories even though I very rarely have any off the top of my head!


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Resident Assistant - Rafael A. Lopez

Program: Film/Video

Year: BFA 3

Favorite Thing About CalArts: Burgers by the pool in Chouinard and movie nights!

Advice for Incoming Students: Seek connections outside of your major!

Fun Fact: I love the smell of fresh coffee, but not necessarily the taste. 


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