Life of a Latinx Leader

The Latinx Cultural Center (LCC) has been hosting a series of events that are designed to let the USU community get to know their Latinx faculty, administrators, and staff in a substantive way. Follow us on social media for exact dates and the latest information about this series.

Interested in Sharing Your Story?

The Latinx Cultural Center is always looking to raise awareness of Latinx leaders around campus. Leaders are people who are making an impact in their communities or who are dedicated to helping those around them. If you have a desire to share your story, fill out the application form, and email it to us at For more information or questions, contact our Program Coordinator, Pam Allcott.

Past Events

JC Vasquez

JC Vasquez | 2023-24

Department Head for Languages and Culture at USU

JC Vasquez, faculty member in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership, shared his experience pursuing his goals while affirming his cultural identity. JC Vasquez was born and raised in Mexico City and has been with USU since 2022. He has served in a variety of capacities while pursuing his primary aim of becoming a faculty member at the College of Education. He has vast experience in pedagogy and delivers training seminars across several disciplines in cultural diversity.

Nataly Baquerizo

Nataly Baquerizo | 2023-24

LCC Student Worker, Undergrad in Marketing

In a presentation titled "Be Yourself", Nataly Baquerizo, student worker for the Latinx Cultural Center and Senior studying Marketing and Sociology, spoke on the challenges she faces being a minority. She also discussed the importance of staying true to yourself. "It's easy to fit in on what the majority is doing - instead, stand out as a minority.

AJ Vongphachanh

AJ Vongphachanh | 2023-24

USU Football Team Captain, Undergrad in International Business and Finance

In his presentation AJ spoke about the challenges he faced growing up multicultural and how these obstacles got him to where he is today. He also discussed how this aspect of his identity affects his life as team captain for USU's football team.

Alvaro Labarra

Dr. Álvaro Ibarra | 2022-23

USU Assistant Professor, Art + Design

In his presentation titled "Production and the Iterative Process", Dr. Ibarra spoke on the contemporary disconnect between production and the iterative process, and how understanding this concept can increase individual productivity. In his professional work, Dr. Ibarra focuses on curatorial projects and critical writing, especially regarding Latinx art. His scholarly writing and archaeological projects engage marginalia in ancient Rome.

Claudia mendez write

Claudia Méndez Wright | 2022-23

PhD Candidate

In her presentation titled "Cow Stories of Resiliency and Passion", Claudia spoke about her educational and personal journey, spanning from her time as an undergrad in Colombia to her Ph.D candidacy at Utah State. Through storytelling, she explored the importance of killing our "cows" or the mental blocks that keep us from progressing.

Crescencio González profile

Dr. Crescencio López González | 2022-23

USU Languages and Culture Department Head

Dr. Lopez, the department head for languages and culture at USU, shared his story pursuing education as an undocumented immigrant. He highlighted some of the challenges he encountered as a minority especially in the midst of institutional racism. He emphasized his efforts as a community organizer and his conviction to work towards social change. Dr. Lopez asked his presentation not be recorded.

Jesse Cardena and dog

Officer Jesse Cardena | 2022-23

USU Police

In a presentation titled, "Changing your stars", Officer Cardena, a member of the USU police department, talked about the challenges he overcame as a son of a single mother immigrant. He emphasized the importance of having an attitude of free will and the ability everyone has to "rewrite" their stars despite their background. He mentioned how his attitude, loved ones, and experiences growing up helped push him to go into law enforcement and become a student at USU.

Bryan Armajo profile

Bryan Joseph Armajo | 2022-23

Graduate Student

Bryan, a graduate student researcher in data analytics, spoke about the resiliency of Latinx and Indigenous peoples. In his presentation, he emphasized their powers of research and innovation in making the world a better place.

Chris Gonzalez profile

Dr. Christopher Gonzalez | 2021-22

Latinx Cultural Center Founding Director

I'm Dr. Christopher González, and I'm the founding director of the Latinx Cultural Center. I wanted a place on our USU Logan campus to be dedicated to Latinx culture and community. I also wanted to connect the Center to the wonderful Latinx community in Cache Valley. Along with being the director of the Center, I am an associate dean of the graduate studies in our USU Department of English. 

George Garcia profile

George Garcia | 2021-22


George Garcia is a current student here at Utah State and has been involved in many different organizations throughout the school. We had the pleasure of hearing out his story and how he got to where he is now. Click on the link below to view a recording of George's presentation.

Alfonso Torres profile

Alfonso Torres | 2021-22

Assistant Professor

Dr. Alfonso Torres, a current professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, shares how he followed a path in academia and STEM as a first - generation Latino immigrant from Peru and now as an assistant professor at USU.

Celina Wille profile

Dr. Celina Wille | 2021-22

Latinx Cutlural Center Associate Director

Dr. Celina Wille is the current Associate Director of the LatinX Cutlural Center, and Assistant Professor, USU extension. Click on the link below to hear Dr. Wille speak about her up bringing and about how to reach personal and professional goals.

Silvana Martini profile

Dr. Silvana Martini | 2021-22

Aggie Chocolate Factory Director

Dr. Silvana Martini is a current professor at USU in the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Sciences as well as Director of Aggie Chocolate Factory. Dr. Martini will describe her journey that brought her to Logan, UT. She will share her story, including challenges and successes that she encountered along the way.

Liz Alcala profile

Liz Alcala | 2021-22

Masters Student

Liz Alcala is a current student at USU, getting her Masters degree in Business Administration. She is also a current assistant at the LatinX Cultural Center and has a passion for helping all students. Liz shared her story about how her life was effected growing up as a minority and how she learned to embrace her culture and Identity.

Monique Davila profile

Monique Davila | 2021-22

Graduate Student

In an interactive presentation titled "Reach For the Sky: A personal Journey of Overcoming Difficulties and Pursuing Goals", USU graduate student Monique Davila spoke on her experiences in education and beyond. Monique discussed her non-traditional educational journey, overcoming stressful life experiences, and how her Mexican-American identity inspired her to work in public history and community engagement.

Ernesto Lopez profile

Ernesto Lopez | 2020-21

USU Alumnus

Ernesto López, USU Alumnus, is one of the first Latino representatives on the Logan Municipal Council, come join us to listen to the story of his journey from "si se puede," to "¡Si se pudo!"

Maria Lopez profile

Maria Lopez | 2020-21


Maria Lopez, a graduating senior and a DACA student, Maria tells us a little bit about her journey coming to USU. Come join us as we listen to her story and hear about her true meaning for dreaming and perserverance.

Nefi Reyes De La Paz profile

Nefi Reyes De La Paz | 2019-20


Being a published author as an undergrad student requires a great deal of drive, in his presentation "Conquering the World One Book at a Time," Reyes shared his personal story of how literature and books changed his life and helped him succeed.

Joseph Banks profile

Joseph Banks | 2019-20

To be successful, college students must learn to network effectively to enhance employability and help launch their careers, while associating with those who value diversity and are strong proponents of multicultural input. Mr. Banks' presentation "Leveraging the Knowledge, Customs, and Perspectives Provided By Your Unique Heritage," covered the importance of making lasting connections while in college, for careers as well as social lives.

Moises Díaz profile

Moises Díaz | 2019-20

Social Worker

Díaz has experienced several firsts in his family, in his life and his career. Please join us for this engaging talk "Siempre Para Adelante, Always Moving Forward," where Mr. Díaz will discuss his journey as an immigrant from Latin America, to his upbringing in New York City, to his career in Social Work, and the challenges along the way.

James García Porras profile

James García Porras | 2019-20

USU Alumnus

James Porras was one of the first Latinx graduates from Utah State University, in his presentation "Say Yes to Your Life: What Do These Words Mean to You?" he shared his key elements to success: help, fear, choices, goals, plans, under-standing, service, and joy.

Rigo Chaparro profile

Rigo Chaparro | 2019-20

Local Buisness Owner

There are unique challenges that come with a Latinx Heritage, in his presentation "If I Can, So Can You," local business owner Rigo Chaparro shared his story of immigration and overcoming his personal obstacles.

Angela Díaz profile

Dr. Angela Díaz | 2018-19

In her presentation, "The Failures and Frustrations of a Young Latina and How I Learned From Them," Dr. Díaz spoke about struggles in her past and how she learned to overcome them. She also discussed about how the experiences of her life influenced her choices to become a historian and professor.

Marisela Martinez-Cola profile

Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola | 2018-19

Being the first in your family to attend college can be a blessing and a curse. In her talk, "The Burn and Benefits of Being a Trailblazer," Dr. Marisela Martinez-Cola will share about the phenomenal benefits and very real challenges that accompany being “The First.

Raul Guevara Ballesteros profile

Raul Guevara Ballesteros | 2018-19

Graduate Student

In his talk, "A Different Colombia Than What You See On Netflix," graduate student Raul discussed many of his life experiences facing stereotypes and how he managed to overcome them.

Luis Rodriguez profile

Luis Rodriguez | 2018-19

In his talk, "Navigating impostor syndrome in the land of make believe," Luis discussed his experiences of feeling "not good enough" to attend, much less graduate, from college and the experiences that have helped strengthen his sense of belonging.

Ketzel Morales profile

Ketzel Morales | 2018-19

Latinx Student Union President

President of the Latinx Student Union, Ketzel Morales, gave a presentation titled "The Doors Have Opened, I'm In...Higher Ed Through Resiliency." Ketzel spoke about her journey as a student trying to navigate the higher education system and the adversity that she has to face as a Latina, and the way in which she has had to push outside her comfort zone to help out her community.

Guadalupe Marquez Velarde profile

Dr. Guadalupe Marquez Velarde | 2018-19

Assistant Professor

Dr. Marquez-Velarde is an assistant professor of Sociology. In her talk, "Refocusing Narratives of Achievement to Empower our Communities," she discussed how we can refocus our achievement narratives to empower our communities while recognizing the pivotal role different communities play in student’s success.

Melanie Domenech-Rodriguez profile

Dr. Melanie Domenech-Rodriguez | 2018-19


Academic journeys are social, and our ties to others can help or hinder our achievements. Professor of psychology, Dr. Melanie Domenech Rodriguez shared the importance of mentoring in her professional development and success, and how she pays it forward, in her presentation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: On Being Mentored and Mentoring."

Samuel Rivera profile

Dr. Samuel Rivera | 2018-19

Currently, immigration policy and the naturalization process are being reformed. Dr. Rivera shared in his talk, "How did I get here? A path to US citizenship thru H1-B visa and National Interest Waiver (NIW)," about his experience with petitioning for a US legal permanent residence by establishing academic evidence of national interest, with the hopes of helping others in similar circumstances.