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Inaugural Cohort


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Aldo Ruiz 

Aldo Ruiz is a second-year student at the University of Colorado Denver pursuing a bachelor’s in digital design with hopes of becoming a professional designer who can create stunning visuals while effectively packaging ideas for an audience. With specialties in digital media, Aldo Ruiz, Graphic Artist for the Latinx Student Services at the University of Colorado Denver, has worked on numerous projects which include building the visual brand identity for a leadership program focused on aiding the Latinx community for students at the University of Colorado Denver as well as designing marketing collateral for a conference hosted by the Denver Latino Commission. Ultimately holding interlocking identities, a student designer, the focus for Aldo is to continue growing, building stronger foundations in digital media while learning further about the fluid connection graphic design can have on aiding with social change and community.​​​


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Daisy Herrera

Daisy Herrera is a fourth-year student and a member of the Latinx Undergraduate Leadership Advancement (LULA) Program, Sigma Alpha Lambda, and The National Society of Collegiate Scholars chapters at the University of Colorado Denver. She is actively seeking new opportunities to volunteer and participates in community events and in school to broaden perspectives and grow both professionally and personally. Identifying as a Latina and a first-generation college student, Daisy’s life experiences have shaped and fueled future goals and passion to help others in the Latinx community against inequity’s in society and assist them towards equity in education, healthcare, law, and employment. In her free time, she likes improving her English and Spanish, discovering new TV series, spending time with family, and is excited to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family relations. With this bachelor's degree she plans to expand her knowledge and get a master’s degree in Social Work in Law to help achieve her goal in helping with social inequities.


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Eloy Sedillo Jr

Eloy Sedillo Jr is a pre-med college student currently pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of Colorado at Denver. He was born and raised in Colorado but has cultural background from Spain. He holds a steady job at the Rob and Lola Wellness Center at C.U Denver while volunteering at local hospitals and medical events to further his knowledge on the pre-medical route. He plans to be an Orthopedic Surgeon in the future as he believes that everyone should receive the same type of care regardless of individual status. To further his medical education he obtained his CPR certification to get hands-on experience to help those in need. The thought of being in the medical field has brought joy to him as he will become the first doctor in his family​.


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Jazmin Barraza

Jazmin Barraza is a third-year student working towards her Bachelor’s in Computer Science with a certificate in Cybersecurity. Through life experiences, she has developed a passion for internet security and how to prevent malicious attacks towards individuals and companies.  With dedication and hard-work, Jazmin has learned through volunteering, what it takes to be responsible and collaborative with other colleagues. 






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Jose Del Rio

Jose Del Rio is an undergrad student double majoring in chemistry and biology with a minor in mathematics. Jose is in his junior year at CU Denver, and currently serves as the Vice President of the Latin student alliance at UCD. He plans to be more involved on campus. Jose plans to go to dental school at the CU medical campus.  He is pursuing to be an orthodontist. Jose recently started his internship at I-Orthodontics with Dr. Indiculla this summer.  His involvement as an intern showed him he can achieve his dreams.



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Julian Ornelas

Julian serves as the Corporate Liaison for the University of Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers Undergraduate chapter at the University of Colorado Denver. In his position, he is tasked with connecting his chapter with industry professionals and company sponsors. He is currently in his second year and is pursuing his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering with hopes of making a career for himself in the Aerospace or Robotics industry. As part of a year-long senior inquiry project, Julian engineered adaptive devices for the special ed department at Northglenn Highschool which was vital in overcoming the communication barriers between these students and their instructors. His passion for helping others is his reason for learning as he intends to use his knowledge to continuously innovate in the best interests of others.​


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Lizbeth Acosta-Aguilar

Lizbeth Acosta-Aguilar is a student at the University of Colorado Denver pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Health with two minor(s) in Health Humanities and Spanish. Born in Mexico, she was primarily raised in a traditional Hispanic household in Colorado. As she continued to focus on her studies, she obtained her Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting in May of 2016 from Front Range Community College. Soon after having completed her certification she worked for two years at a Safety-Net Clinic where she learned many valuable aspects about patient care. As a member of the LatinX Undergraduate Leadership Advancement program and an officer of Latinx Student Alliance, work ethic and education have been her foundation to continue her education on becoming an Environmental Health Specialist in the near future


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Luis Hernandez Guerrero 

Luis Hernandez Guerrero is a third-year student at the University of Colorado Denver where he is majoring in Digital Design. Luis is an involved student who is interested in giving back to the community. Luis grew up in Mexico and then moved to the United States when he was a teenager. Without knowing the language, Luis was able to adapt and overcome the difficulties of living and studying in a completely different system. This experience taught Luis to be resilient and to ask for help when needed. Now, he works as a Peer Advocate Leader where he serves as a mentor for first-year students and helps them to find a community within the university. Luis also works as a graphic designer for the Office of Events and Partnerships where he creates materials to promote student events. One of Luis’s goals is to get closer to his culture and to embrace his sense of leadership by creating inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace. This lead him to join the LULA program. Luis is a creative person who understands the power of images and visuals this is why he is interested in videography, photography, and in designing for social justice by creating impactful social campaigns. Luis plans to continue his college education and then continue for a graduate degree after his bachelor's. ​


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Mia Rodriguez

Mia Rodriguez is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in human development and Education. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree she grows her knowledge in awareness and leadership as a member of the Latinx Undergraduate Leadership Advancement program (LULA). She is currently in her third year and is working toward becoming an elementary teacher. Her love for the community and education has led her to volunteer for non-profit organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club at Cope, Vickers, and Cole elementary. She has done urban ministry/ education work with various churches in Denver, Lakewood, and Costa Rica. She has worked with Denver urban youth through Youth with Future to prepare them with transformational leadership skills. In her free-time she travels, hikes, and spends time with family. Mia is excited to see how she can help students and families recognize their confidence through education and community work. Mia looks forward to obtaining her degree to teach students and fostering life-long learning in all students in an effort to close all of the opportunity gaps.​

 

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Patitta Banjongwit 

Patitta Banjongwit is a treasurer for the Asian American Association at the University of Colorado Denver. In her position, she is responsible for the association’s financial activities. She has experience in the business field for over ten years in a family-owned restaurant. Patitta is a first-generation student currently in her second year pursuing her undergraduate degree in Business administration for accounting. In hopes of becoming an accountant, Patitta aspires to become the first accountant in her family and to help immigrant families. Being an immigrant’s daughter and a first-generation student, Patitta is passionate about working and helping others in the community. Patitta is proud to represent her Thai community. 

 

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Ritish Dangol  

Ritish Dangol is a first-generation student attending his second year at the University of Colorado Denver. He is originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, however, lived in Colorado for most of his life. He is currently on the path for a Bachelor of Science in psychology along with a nursing track. The path he is on derives from the passion of helping others. Ritish has volunteered in programs like la Raza leadership program, lynx day of service, local communities, etc. and is looking for more opportunities to help in medical areas. One of his biggest accomplishments was working with Donor Alliance in creating a transportation box for their educational materials. The project required constant communication with a representative of the organization. He took on the leadership role and guided two team members. With maximum effort, the project was a success and helped the Donor Alliance with its mission.​

 

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Salma Moreno  

Salma Moreno is a first-generation college student with intentions to pursue a career in medicine. She is a third-year college student as well as a member of the Latinx Undergraduate Leadership Advancement (LULA) Program and works on campus as a Peer Advocate Leader (PAL) at the University of Colorado Denver. Salma is a Hide in Plain Sight Scholar recipient and has also been recognized and nominated for the Peer Mentor of the Year Award. At a young age, she has always had enthusiasm for helping and meeting new people. One of Salma’s biggest passions is to advocate for unrepresented minorities/ communities in healthcare. She has been involved with COPA (Colorado’s People Alliance) a non-profit organization whose immigration committee devotes themselves to helping and advocating for undocumented immigrants. Recently, Salma is in the process of working with the director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the Anschutz Medical campus, to begin some research surrounding the LGBT+ community and healthcare disparities. Salma enjoys giving back to her community and hopes that in the future we strive for equity to see change at the systematic level.  ​

 

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Stephanie Villa   

Growing up in the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch neighborhoods, Stephanie Villa is familiar with diverse communities and has attended Denver Public Schools. She graduated from East High School and is a first-generation college student. Villa is currently attending the University of Colorado Denver where she is studying Economics. She is the youngest of five children. Her photography has been showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver as well as the Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery. She has also assisted on film sets for independent student films. She works part-time at WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation). At WESTAF Villa helped create and organize both the archive and library for the organization’s 40 years of service. She has been an active supporter of local artists and often attends art festivals in her spare time.  ​​

 

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Yesenia Guevara   

Yesenia Guevara is a dental assistant who is pleased to be exposed to meaningful experiences such as working with the underserved community, educating patients and learning all the interesting things that can happen in the mouth. After meeting inspirational people, for instance, the four-woman dentist Yesenia was able to work with and learn from, she craved becoming more like a Latin woman to make a profound impact on the patient's life. Yesenia wanted to do more than assist, she wanted to be the dentist, she wants to be a provider. Throughout this journey Yesenia has learned that she is an achiever, she likes to accomplish the goals she sets for herself and she enjoys listening to motivating podcasts because they inspire in the tough times. Yesenia is reliable, she enjoys helping people and gaining their trust. Yesenia is also empathetic, she believes that the world would be a better place if instead of judging we would all try to understand each other and have empathy. 

 

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Yesica Chavez   

Yesica Chavez is a first-generation student at the University of Colorado Denver getting her B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Ethnic Studies. She was born and raised in the Montbello community of Denver. As a high school student, she joined Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) Leadership Corps program, where she received the help she needed to get her to her next step in life, which was higher education. Eventually, she joined ELK's Urban Ranger summer employment program. As an Urban Ranger, she taught hundreds of kids to fish, helped supervise camping trips, and began advocating for the importance of getting youth outside. After three years, she became the College Lead for the team. Her leadership since then has grown tremendously, as has her passion to help her community. Currently, Yesica is ELK's Student Coordinator where she helps lead the program that helped her, Leadership Corps. She is also the Youth Ambassador for the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Office, a volunteer for Latino Outdoors, and a Natural Leader with the Natural Leaders Network. She also works as a research intern at Denver Health where she helps with the diabetes prevention program.

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