Puentes was established to help create an equitable space that centers the experiences and needs of Latinx graduate students across schools and disciplines at the University of Michigan.
Meet our 2023 - 2024 Executive Board
Victoria Vezaldenos, Co-President
Program: Ph.D. Student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology
Hometown: Manteca, CA
Victoria is a doctoral student in the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan. She is a first-generation college student and is excited to serve as the President of Puentes so that she can contribute to building a strong sense of community on campus among Latinx students. Outside of school, Victoria enjoys hanging out with her cat, weightlifting, dancing salsa and bachata, and cooking with her husband!
Twitter: @VVezaldenos| LinkedIn
Ariana Bueno, Co-President
Program: Ph.D. Student in Applied Physics working in the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department (CLaSP) department. Graduate Certificate in Latino/a Studies.
Hometown: Miami, FL
Ariana was born in Ecuador to Peruvian and Bolivian parents. She grew up very interested in math, science and the arts and pursued her bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. She found her passion for space through research and internships and now is getting her PhD to study lunar surface science with NASA and hopes to become an astronaut in the future. Ariana is also very passionate about latinx community outreach and is very excited to plan events this year for the Puentes community!
Instagram: @arianabueno | LinkedIn
Ivette Gonzalez, Vice President
Program: Ph.D. Student in Biopsychology
Hometown: Torrance, CA
Ivette is a doctoral student in the biopsychology program, currently researching how social housing conditions have an effect of motivation for methamphetamine. She did her undergraduate in Psychology & Spanish at San Diego State University. She joined Puentes because she liked how they made her feel welcomed and gave her a good sense of community. In her free time she likes to explore different hiking spots and try new restaurants.
Twitter: @ivettegl_01 | LinkedIn
Jessica Flores, Historian
Program: Ph.D. Student in Romance Languages and Literature, Spanish
Hometown: Southern California, feat. Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley
Jessica is a doctoral candidate in Spanish Literature at the University of Michigan. She has a BA in English and Comparative Literature from Cal State Fullerton, sparking her current research on intergenerational narratives and Latinx identity. As a first-generation student, she is excited to connect with other Latinx students and take part in building a stronger BIPOC community on campus. Jessica loves to channel her creative energy (and hyperfocus) through cooking, baking, and cross-stitching when she's not reading, doing puzzles, or playing video games.
Flor Azul Lorenzo, Treasurer
Program: Master of Public Policy at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
Missy Fuentes, Co-chair of Community Engagement and Partnerships
Hometown: Elkin, NC
Missy is the Lab Manager for the Contexts of Academic + Socialemotional Adjustment (CASA) Lab. She has a BA in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Minors in Psychology and Symbolic Systems from Stanford University. With Puentes, she hopes to connect and grow academically and alongside the Latinx community at UMich. Outside of work, she loves to spend time sewing, drinking coffee, and being in nature.
Sarai Blanco,Co-chair of Community Engagement and Partnerships
Program: Ph.D. in Combined Program of Education and Psychology
Hometown: Greensboro, NC
Saraí is a 5th year PhD Candidate in the Combined Program of Education and Psychology as well as a master's student in the School of Social Work, in the Community Change pathway. Her research focuses on how Latinx immigrant communities experience and embody radical healing. She finds joy in dancing, cooking, and spending time in nature with her two dogs, Nala and Cookie.
Gabriela Maica, Events and Logistics Co-chair
Program: M.D./MBA Candidate at the University of Michigan Medical School and Ross School of Business
Hometown: Staten Island, New York
Viviana Velez, Events and Logistics Co-chair
Hometown: Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico
Viviana is passionate about teaching and community outreach. She has a bachelor’s in Special Education with an emphasis in Deaf Education and a master’s in Early Childhood and Special Education. Her research interests are bilingualism, heritage language acquisition, and language and literacy development in linguistically-diverse learners. Outside of work, Viviana enjoys reading, spending time outdoors, exploring Michigan with her husband, and collaborating in diverse community initiatives.
Andrea Marquez, Special Projects
Program: Master's in Educational Studies with a concentration in Educational Equity, Justice, and Social Transformation
Gisel Arriaga Barrios, Communications Chair
Program: Master's in Social Work in the Community Change Pathway