Past Members

Sar Blanco,Co-chair of Community Engagement and Partnerships Fall 2023

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. 

Cassandra Arroyo, Data Management 2022-2023, President 2022-2023 

Program: PhD Student in Higher Education

Hometown: Long Beach, CA

Cassandra is a doctoral student in the higher education program at the University of Michigan. As a Mexicana-Boricua scholar, her research examines the intersection of higher education policy and college access for Latinx students. She also works as a research policy intern for Excelencia in Education studying Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and institutional resilience in Puerto Rico. Outside of academia, Cassandra enjoys dancing bachata, salsa, and merengue and playing with her husky.

Twitter: @FutureDrArroyo

Delfina Grinspan, Community Engagement Co-Chair 2022-2023

Program: M.S. Student in Ecosystem Science and Management, School for Environment and Sustainability

Hometown: Río Cuarto, Argentina, via Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Delfina is a second-year Master’s student at the School for Environment and Sustainability. Originally from Argentina, she also spent time in France and South Florida growing up and came to Michigan most recently by way of Washington, D.C. Delfina is passionate about all the ways agriculture and the environment interact. In grad school, she is spending a lot of time thinking about soil, roots, and microbes. Outside of school, she loves spending time in the kitchen (cooking, baking bread, not following recipes) and on the dance floor (doing all the Latin dances, swinging out, and learning West African dances).

Maria Ramirez, Community Engagement Co-Chair 2022-2023

Program: Master's In Social Work Student In The School Of Social Work

Hometown:  Grand Rapids, MI

I am a first-generation college student in the MSW program. I received a Bachelor's in social work at Grand Valley State University. My passion for social work stems from engaging with the community through education and community outreach. I look forward to working and getting to know the Latinx community on campus. In my free time, I like to go on walks, paint, and hang out with family & friends.

Instagram: pita_2304 | LinkedIn

Carina Wilson, Events & Logistics Co-Chair 2022-2023

Program: Educational Studies; Educational Equity, Justice and Social Transformation

Hometown: Denver, CO

Carina is an FGLI scholar and mixed-lineage (Mexican, Spanish, Diné, Swedish, Norwegian, and Irish) mother from Denver, CO. She is a QuestBridge alum and received her BA in Socio-cultural Anthropology from Grinnell College in 2019. After having her son and working in many different fields after graduation, she applied to the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) program and chose to pursue her Master's of Education at the University of Michigan's School of Education. She is in the Educational Equity, Justice, and Social Transformation concentration and her current research interests include indigenous reconnection journeys, the decolonization and re-indigenization of learning spaces/ systems, and infusing socio-emotional learning and engagement in academic spaces. Carina also loves to spend time outside with her family, make earrings, and crochet mug coasters in her flexible time.

Instagram & LinkedIn

Jessica Villarreal, Communications 2021-2022

Program: M.S. student in the School for Environment and Sustainability 

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Jessica is a 1st year Masters student in SEAS, concentrating on ecosystem services & management, and is interested in human-wildlife conflict and community-based conservation. She has a BA in Public Relations and Advertising and a BA in Biology. As a first-generation student, Puentes offers a way to connect with other Latinx students and take part in building a stronger BIPOC community on campus. In her free time, Jessica loves to read, do puzzles, play board games, and take her dog on walks in the woods. 

Ariana Munoz-Salgado, Treasurer 2021-2022

Program: PhD Student in Social Psychology

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ariana is a graduate student in the Social Psychology program. Broadly speaking, she studies underrepresented group members’ experiences with subtle bias (microaggressions, omissions) and the effects on their wellbeing and academic outcomes. In her free time, she likes going to the movies, trying out new restaurants, and attending artisan fairs. Thanks to Puentes, she gets to be part of a cross-disciplinary Latinx community on campus, where she has felt understood and supported. She is very excited for the upcoming Puentes Welcome Event and the opportunity to meet more Latinx students! 

Veronica Correa, Event and Logistics Co-chair 2021-2022

Program: Master's Student for School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS)

Hometown: Ann Arbor, MI

Veronica Correa is a second-year master's student at SEAS, where she is specializing in environmental behavior, education, and communication. Veronica got her bachelor's in environmental science at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, but missed Ann Arbor so much she decided to come back for grad school. When she isn't busy with school she is probably updating her LinkedIn profile or making Spotify playlists for her cat.

Natalie Montas, Community Engagement and Partnerships Co-chair 2021-2022

Program: Master of Supply Chain Management

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Natalie is a master’s student in the Supply Chain Management program at the University of Michigan. She was previously living in the Dominican Republic where she completed her undergraduate studies in Business Administration. She likes outdoor activities, trying new food and loves to spend time with her family, friends and dogs. 

Areli Ariana Balderrama, Community Engagement and Partnerships Co-chair

Program: Master of Urban & Regional Planning and Master of Health Behavior & Health Education

Hometown: Woodland, CA

Areli is a third-year dual degree Public Health and Urban Planning student. They have a profound curiosity and commitment to create spaces that highlight strengths in BIPOC communities to ensure a safer and healthier future for the next generation. They enjoy puzzling, propagating plants, backpacking, and cycling (even in 40+ degree weather!). Areli Ariana's pronouns are they/them/ their.