Soledad Quartucci | Executive Director
Soledad is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her father was a scientist and an intellectual. He inspired her to never stop learning and to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to her passions. Soledad lived the immigrant experience in the US, which shaped her as an advocate for immigrant rights. Her interest in the immigrant experience in America led her to pursue a PhD in US immigration history.. She learned about Friends of OC Detainees through a student, and was immediately inspired to volunteer and visit women held in detention in Orange County. By learning about their struggles and the motives for leaving their home countries in Central and South America, Soledad saw a need to understand the regional causes that pushed migrants outside their homes. By staying in touch with women who were deported to Central America, Soledad gained insight into local problems and encountered leaders and organizations in Central America that were dedicated to making their communities, stronger, livable, and self-reliant. What started as a forum for storytelling in an effort to destroy stereotypes that depict migrants in an inaccurate light, turned into a nonprofit formed to help support courageous leaders and organizations that work hard every day to improve their countries. This inspired the idea of forming Latina Republic as a nonprofit intent on finding those organizations and resilient leaders and partnering with them to improve the livelihood of communities in Central and South America. Soledad is an oral historian with a passion for human rights.
Theresa Ortega | Secretary
Theresa Ortega grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and her experiences immersed in another culture have shaped her adult life. Her bilingual abilities were put to use as the Coordinator of the Cuban Special Placement Program, then as an on-call Spanish Court Interpreter for more than 20 years. Her love of the language and culture landed her a spot as interpreter co-coordinator of weightlifting for the Pan Am Games hosted in Indianapolis. She is a Certified Tactical Spanish for Law Enforcement Instructor, and currently is the co-advisor to HLA (Hispanic Latino Alliance), the student organization for Hispanic/Latino students at her university. She is also the founding member of HOLA (Hispanic/Latino Organization for Leadership and Advocacy), her university’s affinity group for faculty/staff; is a Level III Safe Zone Trainer, and has been a frequently featured presenter for the Diversity Speaker series.
Allan Quartucci | Treasurer
Allan Quartucci has over 20 years of experience in the computer networking hardware industry in Marketing and Web Development. A 1994 B.F.A. graduate of California State University Fullerton, Allan studied graphic design and web development, and has gained additional eCommerce experience over the last five years. A son of a Chemistry teacher father and Piano teacher mother, he is a lifelong resident of Orange County, California. Allan is married to his wife Soledad, and they are the parents of three adult children. Allan also has had the additional role of webmaster for Latina Republic since it’s inception in 2015.
Nicole Balbuena | Board Member
Nicole Balbuena graduated from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). She tripled majored in Political Science, Sociology, and Chicano/Latino Studies, founded two student health organizations with the focus on serving low-income communities, and completed her honors thesis entitled, “Undocumented Victims of Intimate Partner Violence: Access to Domestic Violence Resources.” Her research interests stem from experiencing teen dating violence, which confirmed her ambition to change the culture of and attitudes towards violence against women and youth. Her senior thesis explored how undocumented victims are weeded out before, during, and after receiving services from domestic violence agencies, which claim to deliver services to all populations regardless of their legal status. She presented her findings in multiple conferences such as the Pacific Sociological Association and earned multiple writing awards, including the 2018-2019 Excellent Academic Writing in Social Sciences and Social Ecology. In addition to her research interest, she has pursued a service agenda on and off campus that values gender equality, safety, respect, and rejection of violence. Because of this, she founded the first college “Healthy Emotions and Attitudes in Relationships Today” (H.E.A.R.T.) mentoring program in Orange County, which was initially designed for high school students to promote awareness of teen dating violence. Through her leadership and service in UCI and the local community, she was awarded the AntLeader Spotlight for October 2018, the AntLeader Spotlight of the Year 2018-2019, and the UCI Engage Undergraduate Great Partner.
Ariana Giselle Bedolla-Medina | Board Member
Ariana Bedolla graduated from the University of California, Irvine where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Chicano/Latino Studies. Throughout her undergraduate career, she participated in advocacy programs and submersed herself in multiple research projects. As a university advocate, she was called upon by the dean to organize large-scale events for potential university donors and engage in meaningful discussion with these donors about the successes and needs of the student body. She was the only student to provide an honor’s thesis for the Chicano/Latino department, engaging in quantitative statistical analysis of raw survey data through computer programs SPSS and Excel. She has also been sponsored by UCI to travel to Stanford in support of a qualitative research project. This project required an exploration of Stanford’s libraries and archives to produce an analytical narrative of my findings in the form of an oral presentation to professors, students, and families. Her advocacy and research experience shows her ability to tackle multiple large-scale projects at once, successfully meet deadlines, produce work both written and orally, work well independently with minimal supervision, and utilize multiple resources to achieve desired results.
Juan Manuel Henríquez | Board Member
Juan Manuel Henríquez, is a Chilean professor of mathematics, and as professor of religion and morality. Henríquez obtained a Master’s degree in Educational Management at the Metropolitan University of Education Sciences (UMCE). He took courses in solving mathematical problems at the Complutense University of Madrid, and educational applications at the Catholic University of Chile. Each year he is improving himself in the different areas that make up his professional profile in recognized universities of the country. He is interested in maintaining contact with professionals in education and management; giving and participating in contributions to exchange ideas, and generate projects that can make education a fundamental role in the growth of people. Between 2014 and 2015, he volunteered as a teacher to help admit vulnerable students to higher education. Between 2016 and May 2018, he served as an Academic Coordinator of the EFIES (Training School for Higher Education Income), “Forming Chile” corporation (non-profit). As of June of this year, he is part of the Advisory Board of the same entity. Currently, he works at the Colegio Cumbres de Santiago (since 2005), where today he is head of the department of mathematics of the entity, with high school courses and courses designed to prepare students for admissions exams for higher education.
Jan Meslin | Board Member
Since Jan Meslin retired as an educator in 2012, she has pursued her passion for human rights and justice for all. A founder of the Friends of Orange County Detainees visitation program in 2012, Jan now works primarily with Freedom for Immigrants, formerly CIVIC. www.freedomforimmigrants.org Their mission is to abolish immigration detention. She also chairs the Immigrant Justice Action Team for the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California. As part of this, she leads periodic 4-day justice trips to Tijuana to help people learn about what is happening at the border so they can take action when they get home. Visiting people in detention continues to be on her regular schedule. Jan was born and raised in Minnesota, found her home in California in 1981. She and her husband Pete have two adult children, Scott and Erica.