Staff & Board


Alicia Rascon - Chief Executive Officer Chief Executive Officer/Latinitas Co-Founder Alicia Rascon was born in Jalisco, Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas. She has been a development associate for the Austin Children’s Museum and has worked in non-profit and Hispanic media as a production assistant at National Public Radio’s Latino USA and as the director of communications for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Travis County. Following college, Alicia worked as a reading specialist for bilingual students as an Americorps volunteer and taught part-time for the Austin Independent School District. She graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Texas with a minor in Mexican American studies. Co-founder of Latinitas Magazine and Outreach, Rascon is dedicated to providing new opportunities to help Hispanic girls realize their potential. As Chief Executive Officer, Alicia manages the production of Latinitas magazine, program outreach and resource development for Latinitas. She also spearheaded Latinitas’ first pilot chapter in El Paso, Texas in 2008. Alicia has volunteered throughout her life for numerous cultural groups including Kappa Delta Chi Sorority, LULAC, the Junior League Hispanic Mother/Daughter Program, and La Luz de Amistad. She is currently a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, Wise Latina International and Junior Woman’s Club of El Paso. She has served on the board of Girl Scouts – Lone Star Council, Woman’s Fund of El Paso, El Paso Conference for Women and Elevated Arts. Alicia was awarded the Sor Juana de Inez award from the National Mexican Museum of Art, the Luz de la Comunidad recognition from the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce and as the National Hispana Leadership Institute Leader of Promise for her commitment to serving Latina youth
Laura Donnelly - Chief Operations Officer Chief Operating Officer/Latinitas Co-Founder Laura Donnelly was a book publicist for eight years in New York City , working with authors such as Michael Crichton, Erica Jong, Maya Angelou and former President Jimmy Carter, until she realized she wanted to generate her own media. A “big sister” in Big Brothers/Big Sisters for ten years, she had long been inspired to create a forum for “girl speak.” She received her undergraduate degree in English at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison , NJ and a masters in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003. The co-founder of Latinitas Magazine and Outreach, Laura is strongly dedicated to empowering Latina youth. As Chief Operating Officer, Laura manages the production of Latinitas magazine, program outreach and resource development for Latinitas. She is also a documentary filmmaker producing a short work titled, “Capirotada,” which was featured in South by Southwest Film Festival. Laura was named a YWCA of Austin Woman of the Year, “Leader of Promise” and was awarded the Young Women’s Alliance 40 Under 40 Award for her work empowering Hispanic girls and teens.
Jasmine Villa - Managing Editor/Communications & Fundraising Assistant Jasmine holds a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing Studies. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition while working as an Assistant Instructor at the University of Texas at El Paso. In 2011, she graduated with two Bachelors of Arts degrees in English and American Literature and Chicano Studies. Her academic interests led to volunteering and joining the Latinitas team as an Editorial Intern and Club Leader in 2012. Now, Jasmine is the Coordinator for the Youth Editorial Advisory Board and assists with managing content and writers for Latinitas Magazine.
Sylvia Butanda - Program and Volunteer Coordinator Sylvia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and was born and raised in Brownsville, TX in the lower Rio Grande Valley. She is passionate about girl empowerment, creative storytelling and her Mexican culture. Latinitas brings together her interests, which motivates her to help future generations of girls strive to find their voices and tell their stories through the power of media and technology.
Bianca Castrejon - Program Coordinator
Bianca Castrejon graduated Cum Laude at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) with a Bachelors of Social Work. Ms. Castrejon is currently pursuing her Master’s in Social Work at UTEP. She began her first internship with Latinitas and continues to be involved with the organization. She has also completed internships at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo Social Services and currently interning with Probate Court 1 at the El Paso County Courthouse. She has been involved with many community and charitable events. Ms. Castrejon has been involved as a board member of the Student Association of Social Work and is currently a member of the Masters Student Organization of Social Work. She was awarded a HRSA scholarship for her final year in the Masters program at UTEP. She hopes to earn her clinical license in the future and work with at risk youth and families with children with disabilities. 
Itzel Barraza - Program Coordinator
 Itzel Barraza graduated from The University of Texas at El Paso under Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology and a minor in Latin American and Border Studies with an outstanding award. She is interested in working with and for her community targeting contemporary issues that affect society today. She has worked for Gear Up, Latinitas, and was the Editor in Chief of her high school yearbook as well as member of the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society. Being born in the border region and growing up between Mexico and the United States, she considers herself a Mexican American with very strong roots and devotion to her Mexican culture. She is the middle child and only female in her family and considers her family to be one of the most important things in her life. She enjoys photography, learning about cultures around the world and loves to learn new things everyday.
Ariadne Venegas - Program Assistant
Ariadne is a UTEP student, pursuing a BA in Multimedia Journalism with a minor in Psychology. She has worked on the Tejano Tribune in in EPCC as a reporter and photographer. She has been published at Borderzine in UTEP, has helped at the summer camp Journalism in July as a mentor. She has been with Latinitas for over a year contributing as a club leader, event photographer and event planner. Right now, she is doing an internship at Telemundo.
Marlyn Garcia - Program Assistant
Marlyn Garcia is currently a junior at The University of Texas at El Paso pursuing a bachelor`s degree in mechanical engineering. She is the only daughter of a single mother who has inspired her to continue her education and go beyond it. She is a member and current secretary of the Society of Women Engineers UTEP chapter where they do outreach and different activities to inspire girls to become engineers. Her future goal is to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, where she plans to use technology to help the community.


Juan Carlos (JC) Otero
With a strong track record at Dell Inc., Juan-Carlos Otero joins Latinitas with a specialty in both corporate and start-up business. Otero was a crucial proponent in the establishment of two business projects where he served as Co-Founder, Mr. Green Cleaning, a business dedicated to providing eco-friendly cleaning services and ADiki, a platform for college creatives to display information about internships and work opportunities. Otero most recently received his Masters in Organizational Leadership at Concordia University this past May (2014). In addition to working at Dell the last three years, Otero has served as an Advisory Board Chair at Latinitas. As a Board member, Otero hopes to assist Latinitas reach financial sustainability and improve programming for the acquirement of larger funding.
Karen Siles
Angela Sustaita
Ileen Barreras
Instructor, Southwest University At El Paso 
Jenna Rodriguez
PRESIDENT, Assistant Director of Center for Civic Engagement, University of Texas El Paso
Liza Rodriguez
Video Coordinator, University of Texas at El Paso
Maritza Lopez
Health Promoter, El Paso First Health Plans
Christian Salas
Development Director, GhostLight Creative 
Bernadette Segura
Lawyer, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid 
Sandie Taylor
Communications and Operations Director, Together for Girls 

Founding Board Members

Federico Subervi-Velez - Past Board Chair
For over twenty years, Federico Subervi-Velez has been working in mass communication in an effort to raise awareness and attention to the experiences of Latinos. Formerly the University of Texas at Austin ’s RTF Graduate Advisor, Subervi-Velez is currently a professor at Texas State University . Earning his Ph.D. in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin at Madison , Subervi-Velez has gone on to obtain over $575,000 for research projects on a variety of topics pertaining to ethnic issues and communication, and is currently writing a book titled Mass Media and Latino Politics: Case studies of media content, communication strategies, and survey research, 1984-1996. Latinitas was developed in Subervi-Velez’s Latinos and Media class at UT. Currently, he builds and attracts board leadership to Latinitas, helps in fundraising for after school programs and is a link to a workforce of volunteer student interns at his current position at Texas State . In addition to his teaching, publications, and research on Latinos and the media, his international research has focused on the media system of Puerto Rico ; and the images of Blacks and other ethnic groups in Brazilian television. Subervi-Velez has served as advisor or consultant to various public and private entities such as: Fox Kids Network, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer, The Dallas Morning News, The National Museum of American History, The National Council of La Raza, Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, United States Commission on Civil Rights, The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, and The National Latino Children’s Institute.
Bibi Lobo - Founding Board Member
Angie Ayala Berumen - Founding Board Member/Webmaster
Angie Berumen began volunteering for Latinitas in 2002 and served as a founding board member. Since then, Angie has been an integral part of the design, production and maintance of the Latinitas website, producing interactive content and updating the digital magazine articles regularly. With a technology background, Angie is dedicated to teaching young girls the power of technology. Angie currently serves as a Database Application Manager for the Health Professions Council. Angie grew up in Harlingen, TX. Previously, Angie is an IT specialist at the University of Texas as well providing freelance technology consultant services. Upon graduating from high school she attended the University of Texas at Austin where she graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems. She has extensive volunteer experience in providing web design and computer workshops for youth. She is an active member of the Kappa Delta Chi Alumni service organization.

Past Board Members

Albert Swantner
Roberto Carlos (RC) Rondero de Mosier - Past President
April Alejandro
Ana Ruelas - President
Jennifer Rodriguez