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2023 Graduation

2023 GIL Graduation

2023 GIL Profiles

Adrian Lozano

Adrian Lozano Jr. is a visionary entrepreneur and community leader with a passion for empowering immigrants to achieve their American dream. As the Host of Hack Latino podcast and Founder of Hack Latino app, Adrian has dedicated his career to providing resources, information, and support to the Latino community in the US. Born in the US but raised mostly in Mexico after his mother’s deportation, Adrian understands firsthand the challenges that immigrants face when trying to build a new life in a new country. After returning to the US as a newcomer and starting his own HVAC company, Adrian realized that his true purpose was to help others. He founded Hack Latino podcast to provide practical tips and advice for immigrants trying to navigate day-to-day life in the US, and quickly expanded the platform to include the Hack Latino app, which serves as a comprehensive guide for newcomers to the US. Today, Adrian and his team at Hack Latino are committed to creating a world where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dreams, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Albert Martinez-Castro

Albert Martinez-Castro is a visionary real estate developer with a passion for sustainable and dynamic projects. Born and raised in Minnesota, Albert knew from an early age that he wanted to make a difference in the world through his work in the real estate industry. Driven by his passion for creating spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional and environmentally friendly, Albert made the bold decision to move to Georgia to pursue his dreams. Since arriving in Georgia, Albert has been actively seeking out opportunities to get involved with projects that align with his values. He is particularly interested in projects related to sustainability and creating spaces that are designed with the user in mind. What brings Albert the most joy is meeting people who are like-minded \and share similar experiences. With his love for spontaneity, Albert is always on the lookout for new experiences revolving around food, people, and places, which makes him a dynamic and exciting person to be around.

Alec Marirose

(Him/He/Él) serves as a Legal Assistant at R.A.M. Law Firm concentrating on mostly immigration cases. With a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Sport Administration, Alec is currently a prospective law student. Alec desires to to use his degrees to represent, mentor, and uplift underrepresented minorities within the sports industry. In his free time, Alec enjoys developing his coding and computer skills.

Alison Rivera

Alison Rivera is a legal assistant in Sandy Springs at Kuck Baxter Immigration. She is from Mableton, Georgia. Ms. Rivera received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a minor in Sociology and a Pre-Law Concentration at Georgia State University. Alison is passionate about the voting rights of minority groups, and helped Cobb County residents register to vote for the presidential and senatorial election of 2020. Ms. Rivera is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico. She was impacted by the immigration system at an early age, which inspired her to pursue a career in immigration. She hopes to help other families that are going through similar situations as hers. Ms. Rivera plans to pursue a J.D. in the future.

Aurora Gallegos

Aurora Gallegos is a first-generation Mexican American, born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She is currently an Immigration Paralegal at Ross & Pines, LLC handling cancellation of removal and deportation cases. As the oldest daughter of immigrants, Aurora has always had an interest in immigration law and has grown passionate about civic engagement. She joined GALEO in December 2021 as a canvasser in both Clayton and Gwinnett County and continues to advocate for minority and undocumented communities. Aurora received her Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in French & Francophone Studies from Kennesaw State University in December 2020. While previously holding multiple leadership and executive board positions as an active-undergraduate member, she is now an alumni sister of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. Aurora is always eager to continue to learn new things and to grow through challenging experiences. A few of her favorite things to do are working out, pilates, trying new places to eat, traveling, and spending time at home with her dog Dulce.

Carla Romero

My name is Carla Romero. I was born in Kennesaw Ga and raised in Lawrenceville Ga. I am a daughter of immigrants from Honduras who worked hard since the moment they came to this country. I am a mother of two and I have been working for Galeo since 2020 as a Canvasser and grew with GALEO and now I am a Community Organizer for Hall/Forsyth. My passion for being a Community Organizer has grown tremendously and I love helping and serving my Latino Community and spreading the word that their voice matters.

Cecilio Martin Ponce

Born on October 10, 1982, in Managua, Nicaragua, immigrated to Miami, FL with my family. I joined the US Army in October 2002 as an Infantryman and completed One Station Unit Training (OSUT). Over the past 20 years, I have served in various locations including the Republic of Korea, Germany, Colorado, Kentucky, and Georgia. I have deployed seven times in support of the global war on terrorism and have received several awards for valor, including wounded combat. With a focus on professional development, I have attended various schools throughout my military career and am a proud graduate of the Master Leaders Course for senior Non-Commissioned Officers. I am also highly qualified, holding technical certifications in areas such as Airborne, Air Assault, Pathfinder, Sniper, Reconnaissance and Surveillance, Demolition, and Javelin Master Gunner. In addition to my military experience, I hold a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management and a Master of Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. I volunteer my time through Project Healing Waters (Columbus/Auburn Chapter) to connect with wounded veterans and am an active member of the Wounded Warrior Program. I have been married to my wife Mindy for 15 years and have three children: Heather, 19 an active-duty Airmen in the Air Force, Scott, 17 a High School Senior, and Sean, 16 a High School Junior.

Edgar Sanchez

I'm a descendant of Mexican-Nicaraguan roots. I graduated from Georgia Gwinnett College with a bachelor's in Environmental Science. I'm passionate about fighting for my community, surrounding wildlife, and nature. The Latino community must appreciate and respect wildlife.

Isabella "Issa" Solis

"Issa Solís was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, to two first-generation immigrants from Nicaragua. She is very proud of her Nicaraguan heritage and hopes to be someday able to give back to immigrants like her parents. Issa is a senior at Kennesaw State University with a major in Theatre and Performance Studies and a minor in Latin American Studies. She currently serves as the social media intern for the local nonprofit Illuminate Atlanta, which aims to provide free photography education to young people in underserved and underrepresented communities. Issa's biggest passion lies in the intersection between art and community engagement. She is blessed to be involved in local art activism with the New Connections Collision Project, a collaboration between Kennesaw State University, the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, and the Alliance Theatre. When Issa graduates, she hopes to attend graduate school to receive a master's degree and continue to work in art and community engagement."

Ivan Chavez

A first generation Mexican-American, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Ivan Chavez is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants from San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Ivan attends Georgia State University with the intention of pursing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a specialization in the field of political theory along with a minor in Psychology. Ivan has long-term aspirations of pursing a Masters in Public Administration in hopes of a career in the public sector. Ivan is also a firm believer that exercising one’s right to vote is not a privilege, but an ethical responsibility of possessing a U.S. citizenship. He has volunteered as a poll-worker for the Douglas County Board of Elections and plans to continue to do so for future elections with the hope of becoming a Precinct Manager in the near future. In the free time that Ivan has left after living the life of a full-time college student and Department Supervisor of The Home Depot, he spends it with his friends trying all of Atlanta’s best cuisine. As someone who is constantly on the move and busy, he finds it important to focus on mental health so he enjoys the walks through Georgia’s state and national parks that he often takes to decongest.

Josephine Nino

Josephine Nino is an Immigration Paralegal at Kuck | Baxter Immigration, LLC. She has over four years of immigration experience primarily specializing in family-based immigration cases. Ms. Nino received her Paralegal Certification from the University of Georgia in 2017. She was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Nino is passionate about helping our immigrant community as she is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Through her career she has been able to help many Latinx families and with the GALEO program hopes to gain more knowledge and tools to continue to contribute and impact the Latinx community in different ways.

Julia Martinez

Julia Martinez (She/Her/Ella) is a first generation Mexican-American, she was born in Atlanta and raised in Gwinnett County. She is currently studying Applied Math at Georgia Gwinnett College. Her first exposure to the importance of leadership and serving the Latinx community was with the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education (HoPe) in high school. She hopes to expand her leadership skills through the GIL program. She is also a volunteer for Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta and an alumni of the National Museum of the American Latino Young Ambassador Program. She is passionate about issues revolving education, the environment, labor and women's rights to name a few. She hopes to pursue a career in the environmental field and study the intersections of civil/environmental engineering, urban planning and environmental justice.

K'Sandra Thomas

K’Sandra is a professional with extensive public and private sector experience. She has held a number of roles that leverage her strengths as a strong communicator, marketer, and community organizer. K’Sandra currently serves as the Director of Communications and Outreach for AIA Georgia and has previously worked in local municipal and county government. She possesses a deep love for service, which she utilizes in everything she does. K’Sandra is also the owner of KMT Elements, a boutique business services agency. She graduated from Georgia State University with bachelors’ degrees in Marketing and Political Science in 2020. K’Sandra is the mother of a 15 month old daughter and 3 year old pitbull. When she isn’t working she enjoys going to the park with her daughter and dog, reading, and exploring new restaurants.

Kisha Marshall

Kisha Marshall is a first generation native of Brooklyn, New York and Development Manager at The Tahirih Justice Center, a national non-profit providing free legal and social services to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. Previously she worked as a consultant helping various non-profits with board development, strategic planning, grant-writing and fundraising initiatives. Kisha resigned from a sales executive career in the fashion industry to work full time in non-profit. Raised by Panamanian parents, Kisha is passionate about uplifting the Latino community and committed to using her skills to fight for social justice.

Leslie Quintanar

Leslie was born to Mexican immigrants in the state of Georgia. Coming from an underrepresented background, she was exposed early on to the various systemic issues that her surrounding community was subject to. This unraveled her desire to be a helping hand and voice for others during their time of need. With the support of her family, Leslie became the first in her family to attend college. She was introduced to the world of non-profit advocacy in the Summer of 2018, after joining GALEO as a Policy & Communications intern. Shortly thereafter, she worked as a Policy intern for an independent Senate campaign running in Georgia’s 45th District, and later also volunteered her time tutoring children who were of low-income, Latino background. Leslie graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2020, earning a Bachelor’s degree in both Political Science and International Affairs, and a Certificate in Global Studies. She has since gained experience working in family-based immigration and business immigration law, and hopes to further her academic pursuits by attending graduate school in the near future.

Lorena Mora

Born and raised in Colombia, Lorena has experience and knowledge in all communication fields, a bachelor’s degree in Science of Communication and Journalism from Autónoma de Occidente University in Colombia and a Master’s degree in Audiovisual Communication from the Catholic University of Argentina. A significant experience in her career was creating and leading the Communications Office for the Colombian National Army Corps of Engineers for three years. Another meaningful experience for her was being part of EFE Agency, a Spanish international news agency, the primary multimedia news agency in the Spanish language and the world’s fourth largest wire service after the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse Lorena fell in love with Georgia at first sight, dazzled with the native natural world, beautiful birds, and incredible trees. She hopes to impact communities so people can love, treasure, protect and preserve nature.

Luis Cuevas

Luis Iram Cuevas is an undergraduate student at Georgia Institute of Technology pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He is the founder and CEO of Latin Passion LLC where he administers its day-to-day operations, accounting, and marketing. In addition, he has been recognized as an HSF Scholar by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund foundation and was invited to attend the HSF Entrepreneurship Summit, further developing his entrepreneurial mindset and skills. An ambitious and resilient individual, Luis aims to bridge the gap between engineering and business and create a startup in the energy storage industry where Latinos are currently underrepresented. In his free time, Luis enjoys spending time with his family and friends, practicing martial arts, and listening to music.

Luis Wences

Luis is a full-time first-generation student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management at Kennesaw State University. He is 22 years old and is the oldest of 8 siblings. Luis was born into the construction industry with most of his father figures being subcontractors. He is the CEO/Founder of Rebel Roofing and Renovations where he handles most of the overhead and contracting. Luis is currently working as a Field Engineer Intern where he handles project management and site layout on a day-to-day basis. When he is not working, he is actively volunteering in his community alongside his fraternity, Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. where he serves as the Induction Officer for his chapter. His role as Induction Officer includes coordinating the recruitment process, informational process, interested gentlemen process, and induction process for the undergraduate chapter. His main goals as of now is graduating, continuing to grow his business, and becoming a stronger leader. Luis hopes to impact his community in the coming years off his leadership skills and is eager to absorb as much knowledge as he can alongside the GIL cohort.

Marcela Penuela

I was born in Colombia. In 2004, after starting my professional career and starting a family, I immigrated to the United States with my family in search of better opportunities for my children. I have lived in the Gwinnett area for almost 20 years now. I have always had a passion for community involvement and helping those around me and continuously search for volunteer opportunities local to me. I have spent the last few years being purposeful in my work with children and their development. I currently work for the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP) as a Licensing Coordinator and oversee foster children entering the program and their placement in foster homes. I enjoy hiking, being outdoors, and dedicating time to my family.

Omar Rodriguez

Omar Rodriguez (Him/He/Él) serves as GALEO’s Executive Assistant. Born to Mexican immigrant parents, Omar currently seeks a Bachelor’s in Information Technology from Kennesaw State University. Omar excels in advocating for his community and immigrants, as he aspires to use his degree to help organizations better their systems to accomplish their missions.

Paola Mejia

Paola Mejia (she/her/hers) was born in Atlanta, GA to a Salvadoran mother. She is a first-generation college graduate having received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from Agnes Scott College in December of 2022. As a student, she has engaged with various non-profits including the Tahirih Justice Center, New American Pathways, and CARE USA. She has also done work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Paola is discovering her next steps which include searching for full-time community-based jobs in Atlanta. Her current career goals are to work closely with marginalized communities to address health disparities. In line with these aspirations, she hopes to return to school in the coming years to obtain a Master of Public Health with a focus on health policy. In her free time, Paola loves to make and sell crafts!

Peter Ivusic

Petar Ivan Ivusic Araya is an international student from Chile currently on an F-1 visa and has applied to the master's program in Data Science and Analytics at Georgia State University. Petar Ivusic started his education in the U.S with a full-ride soccer scholarship to Garden City Community College in Kansas where he completed his associate degree. He then moved to Atlanta, Georgia to continue his education at Georgia State University in 2019 and received his bachelor degree in B.B.A. in Business Economics in 2021. Before coming to the United States for school, Petar was part of the youth program of a professional soccer club where he spent many years traveling across Chile playing soccer and working with different teams. Which undoubtedly gave him the skills to work as a team or a unit early on. This gave him the opportunity to learn and adapt to other people's leadership skills, it also showed Petar the best way to connect with individuals in order to achieve a common goal. This not only taught him how to work through diversity in individuals, but also taught Petar how to lead, be led and consistently work hard in front of those around him. Mr. Ivusic is part of multiple organizations that support and empower the community in Atlanta. He is part of two organizations that support the Latinx community, Hispanic Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE) and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. He is also part of the board of Directors of a non-profit that supports international students in the Metro Atlanta area. Throughout his involvement in these organizations, he has been able to lead, organize, and volunteer in multiple events that uplift the Latinx community specially Latinx students. He recently was able to put together a team within his fraternity and create a scholarship for Latino college students in the state of GA and TN called "Nuestro Legado" and gave out 3 $1,000 scholarships to 3 amazing students. Nowadays, I am particularly passionate about using technology to make a positive impact on society, and I have volunteered my time and skills to several non-profit organizations in the area such as Plaza Fiesta, The Latin American Association, North Avenue Presbyterian church, among others. Outside of my academic pursuits, I enjoy hiking, working out, spending time with my significant other and dog, and spend time with my fraternity brothers.

Rafael Aragon

Rafael Aragón was born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico. He came to the United States at age six alongside his mother and two older sisters. Rafael is one of the roughly eleven million undocumented people currently living and working in the United States. Thanks to the support of non-profit organizations such as Freedom University, GALEO, and TheDream.US, Rafael received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Oglethorpe University. While he plans to continue his studies in the near future, he is currently focused on utilizing his skills and knowledge to give back through his work as a Community Organizer at GALEO. Ultimately, Rafael hopes to be accepted into a Ph.D. program and continue studying the human mind. His current fields of interest are cognitive and social psychology, with his most recent experimental studies focusing on the effects that multiple exposures to a stimulus and variable video playback speeds have on learning and the effects that virtual reality renditions of nature scapes have on aggression.

Rafael Vargas

Rafael Vargas is a Mexican-American Legal Assistant for MR Law Group. He is From Fayetteville, Georgia. He also participated as an intern at GALEO during the Spring of 2022. He enjoys playing the guitar and diving into different mediums of art.

Ramon Mandujano

Ramon Mandujano is an undergraduate student at Kennesaw State University pursuing a major in Construction Management and a minor in Professional Writing. Ramon was born and raised in the United States but has roots in San Luis Potosi and Tamaulipas, Mexico. As a first-generation student, he has a strong desire to help others in his Latin community. Ramon witnessed his parents' daily sacrifices to provide opportunities for him that his parents didn't have. Through life experiences and lessons, he has developed characteristics such as tenacity, diligence, relentlessness, and distinctiveness. Working with organizations such as the Hispanic Organization Promoting Education, Ramon has gained immense perseverance. He also proudly serves as a brother of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. for the Gamma Rho Chapter and is now a part of the 2023 GIL Cohort.

Ramses E. Jimenez

Ramses E. Jimenez was born in Mexico City, Mexico, and immigrated to the U.S. when he was 7 years old. He’s lived in Fairburn, GA with his parents ever since. After graduating High school, he moved back to Mexico to attend college at La Universidad del Valle de Mexico, Lomas verdes. He was unable to attend college in Georgia due to his legal status and obstacles put forth towards undocumented students at the time. Ramses, having grown up undocumented in the south, saw laws being passed without the input of communities it was affecting. Without regard to what it could do to their families and without providing proper information to those communities. For this reason, he decided to study marketing, and help empower Latino community in Georgia. Thanks to his family’s sacrifices, he was able to graduate with a B.B.A from the J. Mack Robinson school of business at Georgia State University in 2020, with a concentration in Marketing. He now works as a community organizer in Dekalb and Fulton for GALEO, focusing on increasing Latinx voter participation, leadership development and language accessible information.

Reymundo Hernandez-Gonzalez

Raymundo Hernandez-Gonzalez is a first-generation Mexican American, a first-generation college graduate, and, with a little luck, the first lawyer in his family. Being brought to this country as an infant by young immigrant parents wanting a better life, Raymundo is a DACA recipient who understands the importance of a strong work ethic, the importance of learning and improving, and, most importantly, a strong sense of empathy. Raymundo was raised by hard-working immigrants. Because of this, he realized that not only were immigrants and minorities in his community silenced, overworked and underpaid. They also didn't have anyone to speak for them or provide them with resources that most other people take for granted. With a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Piedmont University, Raymundo plans to continue pursuing his educational goals and receiving a J.D. and using it to become an immigration attorney where he can hope to be a guiding light to those hard-working immigrants. Currently, Raymundo is a paralegal for Bross, McAllister, & Williams, a boutique law firm that helps clients with motor vehicle accidents. In his free time, Raymundo loves reading comic books, playing video games, binge-watching reality TV with his wife, and snuggling with his six loveable, chaotic cats.

Ricardo Syntel Brown

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Silvia Garcia

I was born in Juarez, Mexico but grew up in Athens Ga. I moved to Smyrna and started working in Corporate America in 2013. In March of 2020 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. During my diagnosis I started a Small Business, Silvia’s Creations. I sell handmade items and use 50% of the proceeds to create care packages for Cancer Patients. Fighting cancer made me question my goals. Climbing the corporate ladder was no longer important to me. Although I was thankful for my job and everything I learned my heart was no longer in it. I enjoyed running my small business and creating care packages but that wasn’t enough. I felt it was my responsibility to do more. In January of 2023 I accepted a position with East Ga Cancer Coalition. We are a non-profit that provides support to 53 counties in Georgia. I am a Community Educator & Navigator. I now have the privilege of sharing my story and teaching our community the importance of screening and early detection. Cancer isn’t something that is discussed in most latino households. I'm working hard to change that.

Stephanie Diaz

Stephanie Diaz is a second-generation Colombian-American born and raised in the northeast. She has made Atlanta, GA, her home. A graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, additionally she has a Master of Science from Florida International University. Stephanie wears many hats; these include being a person who participates in community efforts that focus on collective betterment with, precisely, social justice issues. Her biggest priority is raising happy, socially and environmentally conscious, kind, and humble children. Stephanie has held several roles within the criminal justice field at the federal, state, and local levels. She has also served in positions on NGOs that promote community integration and pre-trial diversion programs. Currently, she serves as program director for Georgia Advocacy Office's protection and advocacy for individuals with mental illness program—a federally mandated protection and advocacy organization. Stephanie has many passions; living life through a yogic lens, theatre, spending time with family, and the beach are among her favorites.

Warda "Dani" Mustafa-Quintana

Warda “Dani” Mustafa-Quintana was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and immigrated to Slidell, Louisiana with their family at the age of 7. Through the hardships of immigration and adjustments of assimilation, Dani found their passion in Linguistic work and is planning to graduate from Georgia State University in May 2023 with a degree in Applied Linguistics. Outside of their academic career, Dani works at the Center for Civil and Human Rights. While working at the Center, Dani enjoys sharing the wealth of history and world knowledge the museum has to offer. On top of that Dani has recently begun a linguistic expansion plan for the Center to create more linguistic resources for the guests who come to the Center. In the future, Dani hopes to use their skills to create a program where immigrants families can come learn English and teach the children their mother tongue to help both prevent generational language loss and help families adjust to immigration in a way where their cultural identity can be celebrated through the adjustment journey.

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