Meet the Team

Soledad Quartucci | Executive Director

Soledad is the founder of Latina Republic and is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Soledad lived the immigrant experience in the US, which shaped her as an advocate for immigrant rights. Her passion for the immigrant experience in the U.S. led her to pursue a PhD in US immigration history. She enjoyed over a decade of her professional career in academia, but was pulled in a new direction when she learned about Friends of OC Detainees through a student. She 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 and communicate 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, safer, 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. The study of migrants fleeing to the US, led Soledad to develop an equal passion for advancing the rights of Latinx families in Southern California where the stigma of public charge and a pattern of immigrant single-headed households necessitates action steps, information and local partnership. Soledad is an oral historian with a passion for human rights.

Juan Manuel Henríquez | Board Chair

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.

Allan Quartucci | Treasurer & Secretary

Allan Quartucci has over twenty years of experience in the computer networking hardware industry in the areas of 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 in Southern 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 the original website, which launched in 2015. He always enjoys looking for ways that Latina Republic can serve up great articles in new and interesting ways.

Katherine Canally | Board Member

Katherine Canally is a graduate of Villanova University with a degree in Political Science. During her time at Villanova, she studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco where she interned at a non-profit that helped enrich students in the local community via education and arts. In Salé, Morocco, Katherine strengthened grant proposals to USAID, and The Bill Gates Foundation. She developed outreach and a growth plan for the Rabat and international community, taught English to and developed lesson plans for students aged 8-32. Katherine has also served as a Medical Volunteer in Léogane, Haiti where she implemented improvements to demographic and medical examination forms after surveying and organizing medical clinics in Haiti. Katherine provided basic medical evaluations to hundreds of Haitian patients under a certified doctor. She has also served as the Massachusetts State House intern, working for Representative Cory Atkins on policy and constituent outreach, specifically in areas of tourism, art, and cultural development. She supported Representative Atkins in a successful re-election bid for November 2014. In One for the World in Villanova, PA, she promoted poverty awareness on campus as a Student Ambassador through tabling and social media outreach. Under the Nourish International in Washington, DC, she organized ventures to fundraise for non-governmental organizations globally and supported a travel team who worked in various countries with communities on sustainable development. For the National Charity League in Middlesex County, MA she volunteers with several charities in the greater Boston area including Access Sports America, Red Cross Food Bank and Open Table. Since joining Latina Republic, Katherine has co-developed the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative including reaching out to community partners, drafting portions of the grant application based on research, and implementing administrative needs via allocation of resources. She identifies funders and drafts grant applications on behalf of nonprofits in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

Erika Lim | Board Member

Erika is a first-generation college graduate who is passionate about improving the lives of immigrants. Her senior capstone uncovered and analyzed the lives of a population of undocumented immigrants that many do not know exist; undocumented Asians. The capstone discusses the history of the term undocumented, the history of Asian immigration to the US and to understand and analyze the experience and challenges associated with being an undocumented Asian immigrant. After graduating from Soka University of America with a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts, Erika went on to serve her nation through AmeriCorps as a FEMA Corps member deploying to three major hurricanes including Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida, and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. After completing her service term, she returned to New York City and is currently the Development Manager at Green City Force, an AmeriCorps program that prepares young adults aged 18-24 who reside in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) for careers through green service.

Rafael Moreno Ghersi | Board Member

Rafael Moreno Ghersi, is a Civil Engineer in Computer Science, with an advanced degree in Engineering Sciences with more than 30 years of work experience. Married for 29 years to Blanca and father of Tatiana, 22 years old, who is an art student, Rafael has worked as an electronics technician, and has been a member of the Chilean Air Force, where he had the opportunity to get to know his entire country. He graduated as an Execution Engineer in Computing and Informatics, and had the opportunity to work in various companies in the industrial sector. Within these companies he held a position of regional responsibility that gave him the opportunity to lead work teams from different countries in Latin America and the privilege of working and sharing their experiences and cultures with them. In 2013 Rafael obtained his last degree in Civil Engineering in Computing and Informatics at the University of the Americas. He currently works for a German company and because of that he has had the opportunity to meet and work with people from different countries in Europe. No matter how different our cultures may be, there are many points we all share in common, which bring us closer, unite us and helps us understand the needs of others, their concerns and their problems. We can use this knowledge to lend a hand when possible to help others in their quest for wellbeing, welfare and tranquility, which are qualities we all seek in life. This is what motivates me to serve as a board member with Latina Republic, because the opportunities to help others exist through this organization.

Verónica Quezada | Board Member

Verónica Quezada is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. As Xicana and part of the 1.5 generation, she has always identified with and fought for La Causa, for the immigrants. Her parents were undocumented for a long time, she has witnessed the injustice against and invisibility of this community. Now, she would like to help raise awareness and exalt all the great deeds accomplished by Latinx immigrants in this country. Verónica obtained a doctorate degree in Latin American and Chicanx/ Latinx Literatures from the University of California, Irvine. She is an Assistant Professor at Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, in the Language and Culture Program where she teaches all levels of Spanish and Learning Clusters on Chicanx Studies and other topics.

Immigration Writer Internships

Flor Chavez Barriga | Oglethorpe University

Flor Chavez Barriga is an undergraduate student at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA studying History and Sociology with a focus on research. She was born in Michoacan, Mexico, and grew up in Atlanta surrounded by the rich history of Martin Luther King’s legacy. She previously attended Freedom University where she was given the opportunity to achieve higher education, while also learning about collective action and human rights. Flor is passionate about the south’s reaction to immigration with its restrictive policies and infamous detention centers. She hopes to highlight the voices of communities in the south that have helped combat all the hurdles that continue making immigrant lives harder.

Kimberly Gabriela Martinez | University of California, Irvine

Kimberly is an undergraduate student majoring in Political Science at UCI. She grew up in a predominantly Latinx community in Southeast LA and is the daughter of two Honduran immigrants. Having seen the obstacles that many immigrants face first-hand has inspired her to pursue a career in immigration law. She hopes to amplify the voices of those in the community during a time where immigration has become one of the most polarizing issues in modern politics. Making sure that underrepresented stories and voices are heard is important in removing the negative stigma around the immigrant community and she hopes to contribute to this change.

Jessica Nichols | Texas Tech University

Jessica recently graduated with her Master of Arts in Spanish Literature at Texas Tech University, where her studies inspired her to follow a career in non-profit work advocating for the Latin American and immigrant community in the Americas. Working with Latina Republic gives her an opportunity to pursue her dream by sharing stories and spreading awareness about the beautiful and rich cultures of Latin America, and the difficult lives Latin Americans face in and outside of the U.S. For Jessica, this is the beginning of a long career in advocacy for social, political, and environmental justice for all.

Environmental Writer Internship

Clara Rabbani | University of Chicago

Clara Rabbani is a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Urban and Environmental Studies. She is passionate about poetry and is the editor of “The World is Waking Up: Poetry of Resistance from Youth Around The World”. With a Brazilian and Iranian background, she is also fascinated with the diversity of human cultures and their intersection with environmentally sustainable practices. She will be collaborating as the Environmental Writer for Brazil.

Sophia Turcot | University of California, San Diego

Sophia Turcot is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of California San Diego pursuing a major in International Relations: Political Science with a minor in Climate Change Sciences. She’s from Los Angeles, CA and was raised in a coastal town where she gained an interest in conservation and ecology, specifically in ocean ecosystems. She believes education plays a vital role in mitigating global climate issues and is excited to be working with Latina Republic to tell the stories of individuals and communities in Latin America and their mission to preserve some of the most biodiverse and beautiful regions in the world.

Latin American Correspondent Internships

Vanessa Campa | Florida International University

Vanessa Campa is a Senior student at Florida International University majoring in English and minoring in Psychology. Vanessa grew up with a huge Latinx community in Miami, Fl where the majority of the population is Hispanic, and was raised by two amazing immigrant parents. She has a passion for art, photography, humanitarian issues, human rights issues, and telling stories that have an impact on shifting perspectives and educating audiences. She hopes to get into the journalism field to continue her love of storytelling. In her time with the Latina Republic, Vanessa wants to contribute to change the stereotypical narrative of her people and tell inspiring unrecognized stories that need to be brought to light.

Michael Davis | Tulane University

Michael Davis is a current undergraduate student at Tulane University studying Finance and International Relations through the Altman program in International Studies and Business. His interest in Latin America began when he took his first Spanish class in 6th grade. Since then, Michael has traveled throughout Latin America learning about entrepreneurship, policy, and globalization. He is interested in sharing the stories of young entrepreneurs who work to expand development within Latin America. He believes their stories can inspire others and reshape the narratives of Latin America. In Latina Republic, he is excited to highlight these voices in his stories to deepen his own understanding of Latin America as well as his readers. He looks forward to inspiring innovation with his stories through Latina Republic!

Hannah Fontaine | Harvard University Alumni

Hannah is a recent graduate of Harvard University who wrote her thesis about the connection between the state-sponsored violence of the Guatemalan Revolution and the lack of prosecutorial and judicial success for women who are survivors of sexual violence in the country today. In the fall, she will be attending University of Wisconsin- Madison for law school where she plans to focus on immigration and criminal law. Hannah has been working with Latina Republic since October 2020 and her favorite part about writing articles is using quotes from interview subjects to emphasize their voices and experiences, telling their stories as they want them to be told and highlighting the successes of organizations and movements working to make their communities better.

Family Resource Specialist Internship

Andrea Hurtado | University of California, Irvine

My name is Andrea Hurtado and I am an undergraduate sociology major at the University of California, Irvine prospering to pursue a career in social work. I am the daughter of two immigrant parents whom I feel proud of for all the sacrifices they’ve made to allow for my sibling and I to have access to greater resources and opportunities. My interest in Latin America began at a very young age. Learning about my parents’ life growing up in Mexico emerged as a drive within me to learn more about other cultures, and customs that people live by. In Latina republic I hope to become part of the mission of empowering Latin American communities all around by providing resources to help them grow and prosper.

Brianna Montaño | Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles

My name is Brianna Montaño and I am a 4th-year student at Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles. I am majoring in Spanish Studies with a minor in Social Work, and I plan to continue my education to receive my teaching credentials. I have always had a deep-rooted passion for Spanish, but my interest in learning more about Latinx cultures stems from attending a university where the majority of students are Latinx. Learning about the different places my peers are from and seeing how beautifully similar, but unique, each culture is has been my favorite part of my experience. Furthermore, I am passionate about education, social justice, and mental health. As a Family Resource Specialist for Latina Republic, I look forward to helping Latinx families with any support they need.

¡Adelante! Virtual Tutoring Program

¡Adelante! Mamás Instructor
Elena Gutierrez | University of California, Davis

My name is Elena and I am an undergraduate at the University of California Davis. I am majoring in Spanish and minoring in Arabic because I have a love for languages and decided that in my career I would like to translate for others who struggle with the language barrier. I plan to also expand my career options with my major and tutoring/mentoring is something that I have a passion for. As a mentor I want others to feel motivated to learn and to have fun with it, to build confidence and get creative. I value education and hope to help others on their educational path because I care about their futures. Outside of school I enjoy writing to my penpals, upcycling, gardening and reading.

Jennifer Carrillo-Berumen | DePaul University

Hello! My name is Jennifer Carrillo-Berumen. I am a first-generation undergraduate student at DePaul University. I am interested in becoming a future teacher and/or a career in the Animation field. I wanted to become a tutor for the Latina Republic organization because I felt like I could have a big impact on a migrant youth’s life. I was born in Chicago, but I am the daughter of immigrant parents. Both of my parents came to the U.S from Zacatecas, Mexico. In Kindergarten, I did not speak any English. I was placed in an ESL program. I oftentimes felt frustrated with myself, and I was behind academically because while many were getting help from a parent at home. I was stuck at home with my face on the table extremely frustrated because the homework assignments made zero sense and I couldn’t understand them. My parents were always working, and they didn’t speak any English so they couldn’t help me with my assignments. As a tutor I want to be that extra support and resource that the students can use, and I want to create a safe and relaxed space where they will be able to have fun while learning. I want them to feel confident and proud of who they are and that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Outside of my studies, I love writing, animals, watching various animation films, and I love spending time with my family and friends.

Cristina Castillo | University of California, Los Angeles

My name is Cristina Castillo and I am a first generation student at UCLA. I am majoring in Psychology and Chicanx & Central American Studies, and I am also pursuing a minor in Education Studies. Most of my life I have lived in the Antelope Valley alongside my sister and parents who immigrated from Mexico. I am passionate about social justice, education, abolition, and mental health. Upon receiving my B.A. I hope to go into education and work on dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline and the deficit perspectives educators hold of students of color. I also would like to eventually attain a PhD in clinical psychology to treat and inform on trauma within marginalized communities. When I am not studying or working, I enjoy talking about all things books, films, and creativity.

Yesenia Chaidez | University of California, Riverside

My name is Yesenia Chaidez and I am a first-generation student attending the University of California Riverside. I am majoring in Linguistics because I love the connection that each language has while communicating. I hope to become a Speech-Language Pathologist in a School district to help students who are having a bit of difficulty. I have always been interested in helping children and young adults, that is the reason why I was fascinated with Latina Republic. My parents migrated from Sinaloa Mexico in their young twenties looking for a better future. This taught me that starting new and leaving things behind is not always a bad thing. At a young age, a tutor taught me how to always see obstacles as challenges that are not impossible to overcome and I hope I am able to teach that to others.

Sylvia Dosal | Florida International University

My name is Sylvia, and I was born and raised in Miami. I am 28 and I have always considered languages to open the doors to many opportunities. Languages not only help you learn linguistics but opens the doors to learn about different cultures. I am bilingual in English/Spanish and have studied German and Portuguese in the past. I am currently finishing my bachelors in Spanish with a minor in Education.

Silvana Farias Lúa | University of California, Berkeley Alumni

Silvana is a recent graduate of University of California, Berkeley where she studied Social Anthropology with a focus on Latin America and Food Justice. With an underlying collective mindset, she has worked alongside various projects within the realm of Social and Environmental Justice. She is passionate about exploring, creating, nurturing, and learning all that comes her way. She is also currently learning Brazilian Portuguese and how to play the Jarana.

Zaira Garcia | University of California, Santa Barbara

My name is Zaira Garcia, and I am a third-year student at the University of California Santa Barbara. I am working towards getting a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in Education. Throughout high school and college, I realized my determination and commitment to help others has continued to increase. Since a very young age I have enjoyed helping others in any way I could and throughout the years I have come to realize it is my calling. My plans after my undergrad are to come back to my hometown and get a job in the field of social services while I work on getting my master’s degree in education. After receiving my master’s degree, I would like to become an elementary school teacher in my hometown or a high school teacher in the teaching of Chicano studies. I grew up in a Mexican household with my dad being an immigrant who left his parents and hometown behind to give my mom, siblings, and I a better life known as the “American Dream”. I know there are many students who are in the same situation as was once in and I know the struggle of lacking resources. I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to tutor children virtually, help them with homework, guide them, and mentor them.

Ava Gibler | Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

My name is Ava Gibler, pronouns she/her/hers. I am a fourth-year student at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. My major is Liberal Studies, with a concentration and minor in Mathematics. After completing my degree, I hope to become a middle-school or high-school math teacher. At Cal Poly, I am involved in the dance program, along with virtually tutoring high-school math through the Center for Engineering, Science, and Math Education (CESAME). Outside of school, I love to spend time outside. My favorite activities include going to the beach, hiking, and skiing.

Mariana Gonzalez | Pomona College

Hello, my name is Mariana! I’m an International Relations college student from Los Angeles and I love painting, dancing, and going on adventures. I also like watching Marvel movies and listening to all kinds of music.

Grace Ongman | Cornerstone University

Hey! My name is Grace, pero también la gente me llama Graciela! I have a life passion for spreading the beauty and diversity in foreign language and culture, which has led me to become trilingual in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese. I’m currently studying Japanese and hope to learn ASL, Arabic and other languages in the future! Through this desire to learn and appreciate all diversity throughout the world, some of my closest friends do not live in the US, and I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 I’m currently studying Linguistics as well as a double major in Creativity and Innovation, with a minor in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language). My greatest desire is to make change in the US and around the world through my compassionate heart and relational nature through education and/or humanitarian aid in areas such as immigration, adult GEDs and more! I’m super excited to work with Latina Republic to enact small changes that will lead to big progress in the uniting of the world and its countless cultures!

Anthony Olea-Romo | University of California, San Diego

Hello, my name is Anthony and I’m a 3rd-year student at UC San Diego where I’m majoring in Molecular & Cell Biology. With this knowledge I hope to get into the forensic field of toxicology and be able to aid in solving criminal cases. And along the way, I’d also like to learn more about ecology since I am intrigued by animals and the ecosystems they roam. It’s a topic that I’ve found to be engaging and especially important to me, and this leads me to why I joined Latina Republic as a tutor. I want other students to also explore and learn about topics they find interesting, ones that spark a deep connection with them, whether their interest is scientific, mathematical, linguistic, etc. I want to be a part of the effort that educates students on what they’re passionate about so that they could pursue that passion and even create a future for themselves with what they’ve learned.

María Salcido | University of California, Santa Barbara Alumni

My name is María Salcido, and I am a first-generation graduate from the University of California, Santa Barbara where I majored in English. I owe endless gratitude to my beautiful mother and father— two migrant parents who traveled new worlds to lay my foundation. I am currently taking a gap-year before I return to academia to pursue a career in education. I was prompted to become a Tutor for Migrant Youth not only because of my interest in education, but also because of my own background as a first-generation Latina. Understanding the barriers and limitations imposed on marginalized groups and disenfranchised communities, I am excited to contribute to the growth of young learners.

Katie Sinclair | Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

I grew up in Corvallis, Oregon and played many sports during my younger years. From Kindergarten through my senior year in high school, I was enrolled in a dual immersion program in English and Spanish. I was bilingual by the time I was 10 years old. I graduated from Corvallis High School in 2019 with academic honors and my seal of biliteracy in Spanish. I am going into my third year at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo in the Fall, where I plan to get a degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Spanish and a minor in Latin American Studies. In my free time, I love to go to the beach, drink coffee, watch movies and snuggle with my cats.

Madeline Urbine | Temple University

My name is Madeline Urbine, and I am going into my final year of school at Temple University in Philadelphia where I study Political Science and Spanish. Though I am not sure what I want to be, I hope to move abroad for a period and work for various nonprofits to help increase access to sustainable services and develop solutions to modern problems (which may be teaching English abroad and ensuring that people have access to high quality education; increasing sustainable and reliable public transportation infrastructure; or helping streamline international migration). In terms of teaching, I have experience in lecturing high school age students on art in a foreign language to improve communication when discussing art. I also helped my younger sister and cousins with their schoolwork their whole lives. Overall, I am extremely excited to start working with your child and am open to collaboration and concerns to improve the child’s experience.

Jessica Verdin Ruiz | University of California, Santa Barbara

Hi, my name is Jessica Verdin Ruiz and I’m a proud DACA recipient studying at the University of California Santa Barbara. My major is Sociology, and I am really passionate about it and what I will be able to do with it in my future. Most importantly I am so excited to be a part of Latina Republic and the impact I will have on the kids.