A scholarship fully funded by the USC Student Body
Meet the NTSAF Staff

Christina L. Yokoyama, Director

Christina is an alumna of the University of Southern California, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Policy and Management and a Spanish minor as well as a Master of Education degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs. She has served as the Director of the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund since February 2007. As the Director of the Fund, Christina manages the annual solicitation and selection of scholars, distributes scholarship funds, oversees all activities and programs of the Board, and serves as an advisor for Topping Scholars. Christina’s USC experience began as a multi-cultural freshman, first-generation college student in August 1998. She joined the university staff in May 2002 as a Financial Aid counselor. Because of her clear passion for high financial need, first-generation college students like herself, Christina was invited to serve as the Financial Aid Representative on the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund Governing Board from 2002-2005. In the summer of 2005, Christina joined the Doctor of Education Program Office as a program advisor to doctoral students in the USC Rossier School of Education. Only a year and a half later came this incredible opportunity to rejoin the Topping Family.

Trista Beard, Associate Director

As the Associate Director, Trista’s primary responsibilities include outreach to different high school and community colleges, coordination of the NTSAF Exceptional Funding Program, and the implementation of retention programs for the Fund. Trista is a first-generation college student from a working class rural town. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Rochester, a Master’s in English from Simmons College in Boston, and her Doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California. After teaching English in Japan, she began working at USC in study abroad programs where she became an expert on global learning and international programs. Her research interests in higher education focus on first-generation college students, social capital exchange, and the development of success models. When she’s not working or writing, Trista enjoys spending time with her family.

Sierra Williams, Governing Board Chair

Sierra is a junior majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis in Operations and Logistics. She is also minoring in Forensics and Criminality. Throughout her undergraduate career, Sierra has been involved with the National Society of Black Engineers and has worked with the Neighborhood Academic Initiative as a Teaching Assistant and AP Calculus Tutor. She will earn her degree in engineering and will seek a graduate degree in higher education. She is very passionate about increasing the retention rates on minorities in STEM fields. Sierra joined us in the beginning of her sophomore year as a member of the Governing Board. She is now an official member of the Topping Staff as the 2016-2017 Governing Board Chair.


Tina Fleming, Program Coordinator

Tina Fleming is a Progressive Degree student pursuing a master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business law. Tina’s interests include art, culture, and politics; she hopes that in the near future she can help improve underrepresented communities’ access to higher education. On campus, Tina works as a program coordinator at the Norman Topping Student Aid Fund office and participates in the Levan Scholars Program. Off campus, Tina works as an operations agent for Southwest Airlines and also as a writing tutor for the Warrior-Scholar Project, a nonprofit designed to aid veterans’ transition from the military to college. Tina grew up in Saipan, a small island in the Pacific Ocean and, in her free time, enjoys getting to know the world by traveling to new destinations.


Katherine Ampaw, Alumni & Mentor Program Coordinator

Katherine Ampaw is a current graduate student at USC’s Rossier School of Education pursuing her M.Ed. in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs. She attended Cerritos College, in Norwalk, California before she transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to earn her B.A. in Gender Studies. After graduating from UCLA, Katherine served as a City Year corps member in Oak Park, an underrepresented low-income community in Sacramento, California for one year. As a corps member, she taught a Guided Reading Intervention Course to 9thgraders reading below 8th grade reading level. She was able to have 80 percent of her students increase their reading levels in one year. Moreover, Katherine mentored students, motivating them to have the desire go to college and helped them with college applications and scholarships. After her year of service with City Year, Katherine wanted to continue to support low-income, first generation, underrepresented students in higher education and assist students in coping with university life, academically and socially.


Kevin Dimatulac, Outreach Coordinator

Kevin is a current graduate student at the Rossier School of Education pursuing his M. Ed. in Educational Counseling. He began his educational journey at Glendale Community College in Glendale, California where he found himself heavily involved in student life. It was through serving in various leadership positions in student government and student clubs/organizations where he discovered his passion to work in higher education. He transferred to California State University, Northridge where he earned a B.A. in Sociology. In addition, he lived in Andalusia, Spain for one year and attended the University of Jaén where he refined his Spanish-speaking skills to better serve the community around him. Kevin is passionate about working with underserved students around the Los Angeles area. In the future, he hopes to become an academic counselor and eventually direct a student equitable program. In his free time, he likes to travel, work out, spend time with his friends and family, and try out new places to eat.

Approximately 15% of USC undergraduate students are the first person in their family to attend college! Check out some of their stories below and visit the USC First Generation College Student website.

Topping Scholars volunteer at the annual Safe Halloween, a collaborative event with the Hoover Recreation Center where neighborhood youth enjoy a haunted house, inflatable rides, candies, and treats.

America in Japan USC Dornsife students travel to Japan as part of the Norman Topping student program.