Meet the Team

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.

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 and Volunteer Manager at Citizens Committee for New York City where she supports the team in fundraising efforts to improve the lives of New Yorkers. She has worked with hundreds of grassroots groups and thousands of volunteers to organize volunteer opportunities for fellow New Yorkers to serve their community.

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.

Allan Quartucci | Treasurer & Secretary
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.

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.

Jessica Torres | Board Member
Jessica Torres graduated from Soka University of America, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. During this time, she had the opportunity to complete a fieldwork project in Guatemala where she and her classmates studied the environmental impact mining had on local communities and families, while also being in the presence of community leaders who were creating change. It was experiences like these that further inspired her to uplift and empower those whose voices go unnoticed, whether they’re animals or people, her work in advocacy was just beginning. For the years following, she focused on increasing her involvement in the nonprofit sector, which led her to volunteer, intern, and be employed at several organizations throughout Los Angeles. Soon after, she was motivated to continue her education and graduated with her master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University. She learned not only the ins and outs of the nonprofit system but also how to create greater impact as a leader. She believes in the value of creating empowered communities, educating others, and creating an inclusive space for all. In doing so, she now works at Families In Schools where she is not only passionate about supporting youth, which can take on many forms, but truly believes in educational equity. Her most current work focuses on raising greater awareness of hard-to-count populations, primarily children 0-5, as part of Families In Schools’ All Children Count Census 2020 Facilitator Trainings. Jessica has experience in development, direct service, humane education, community outreach, programs, and youth mentorship. As a compassionate leader, she strives to build connections through collaborative efforts and create positive experiences for others.

International Consultants

Bernardo Méndez Lugo | Mexico
A Mexican Diplomat retired, he has been executive director of Promigrant Foundation based in Mexico City since March 2017, with a worldwide network of volunteers in more than 100 cities. He was founder Professor at Universidad Autónoma Metrópolitana Xochimilco campus and did teaching & research for 20 years. In 1990, he joined the Mexican Foreign Service and was Consul in Montreal, Atlanta, San Francisco, Tucson, San Salvador and Chicago. He has published hundreds of articles and coauthored more than ten books and has been international Consultant for UN PAHO-WHO for public health, World Bank, OECD and UNIDO. He has delivered courses, workshops and lectures in many countries and Mexico. He is currently giving lectures on Covid-19 and international migration.

Maribel Justina Moya | El Salvador
My name is Maribel Justina Moya. I am 62 years old. I have four children and eight grandchildren. I live in a community called Asuchio, in the municipality of Zaragoza, Department of Libertad, El Salvador. It is an organized community that was formed after the armed conflict and the 1991 peace accords. The community has a Women’s Association, in which I hold the position of president on the board of directors and, in addition, I am president of the Fundación CORDES Association for the period 2019-2021. My work within the CORDES Foundation is more in the part of management and administration and also in the part of institutional management. Within these processes, my work is to guarantee the management and coordination with the other coordinators of programs and projects such as the elderly, the gender unit, the agricultural program, the youth program and the advocacy program. Coordination is carried out with all the community and municipal associations where CORDES has an intervention. For its part, within the community and the women’s association there is a close relationship and alliance with the CRIPDES association and with the communal leadership of the same community. Within all this process and these coordinations I like to seek support for women and the community itself, mainly for agricultural production. We seek to guarantee the food security of families. Along these same lines, in 2013 I organized different community savings groups, in which I sought to generate a saving habit in each person; in such a way that the families can have a new support mechanism, because the members of the groups can use the money to make loans among themselves, which allows them to solve any economic situation of their families. Personally, I am a dynamic person who likes to have her own chickens and hens. I also like agricultural and the growing of corn, and beans.

Luis Enrique Contreras Reyes | El Salvador
Political Analyst for Salvadoran TV and Academic and Opinion Columnist for several newspapers in El Salvador. Consultant in Public, Citizen and Police Security, and Founder and President of PROSEDE Consulting (Protection, Security and Defense) a company that offers consulting services and training in crime prevention and security. From 2005 to 2019, I was an instructor for the National Academy of Public Security (ANSP), a police training institution in El Salvador. Accreditations include, International Certification in Citizen Security, Level III Expert from Costa Rica. International Certification in Police Intelligence Methods, Costa Rica. Criminological Approach and Crime Prevention Training; Certification as a Specialist in Police Tactical Defenses; Diploma in Police Models for the Prevention of Crime and Violence and Research Center for the Prevention of Violence (CIPREVI) Guatemala.

Latin American Correspondent Internships

Dashiell Allen | Reed College
I am originally from New York City and am a senior majoring in Spanish at Reed College. I am currently writing my undergraduate thesis on the published works of the Frente de Liberación Homosexual de Argentina during the 1970s, and am interested in studying movements related to gender and sexuality in Latin America. I have previously been involved in local politics in New York City. I look forward to expanding my knowledge of Latin American politics through this opportunity!

Jennifer Collao | Claremont McKenna College
Jennifer is a rising senior at Claremont McKenna College, majoring in International Relations and Film Studies. Her interest in Latin American politics and migration studies stem from her experiences as a Peruvian immigrant living in New York City. Throughout her undergraduate career, Jennifer has conducted investigative research projects in Peru and Argentina regarding intra-regional migration, transnational practices, and women migrants. After graduation, Jennifer hopes to combine her passion for politics and film to pursue a career in digital journalism. As a Latin American Correspondent, she is excited to contribute to an organization that values storytelling and promotes awareness of human rights issues in Latin America.

Dani Garcia | Pitzer College
Daniela García is a rising junior at Pitzer College majoring in Critical Global Studies with a minor in Foreign Languages. She was born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District to two immigrant parents from Jalisco, México. Daniela is passionate about issues related to human rights, sustainable development, and social justice throughout the Global South. As a Latin American correspondent for Ecuador, El Salvador, and Brazil, she hopes to explore how local communities are building power and responding to current challenges. In addition, she aims to highlight the stories of women, afro-descendants, LGBTQ+ and indigenous communities in these regions, while building transnational solidarity and connections.

Kenia Garcia-Ramos | Pomona College
Kenia is a rising sophomore at Pomona College, where she is double majoring in ChicanX-LatinX Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Born and raised in Southern California’s Inland Empire, Kenia is the proud daughter of two Mexican immigrants. Her father, from Tepic, Nayarit, and her mother, from Apatzingán, Michoacán, taught her to always honor her roots and brazenly embrace her Xicana identity. In her research, Kenia is most interested in unpacking the framework of ChicanX-LatinX caretaking, within nuanced spheres and contexts. As a Latin American Correspondent, she plans to champion gender-focused and feminist issues, creating space for some of Latin America’s most overlooked livelihoods and narratives to be uplifted. Kenia could not be more excited to contribute to Latina Republic by working in tandem with individual folx and NGO’s to (re)count their stories, as every voice deserves a place to be heard.

Zenia Grzebin | Wake Forest University
Zenia is a rising Junior at Wake Forest University who is pursuing majors in Politics and International Affairs & Spanish as well as a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Zenia became interested in Latin American and Spanish Studies through her travels to Costa Rica and Spain. In the summer of 2019, she conducted research on international relations and Spanish domestic politics for La Asosiación Profesional de Sociología de Castilla y León. On campus, Zenia is active in organizations such as Project Pumpkin and HerCampus as well as a member of the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society. She is looking forward to working with Latina Republic to amplify marginalized voices and learn more about issues affecting Latin America.

Maria Hernandez Pinto | Pitzer College
Maria is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Foreign Languages at Pitzer College, where she is a rising junior. Born in Guatemala to Colombian parents, Maria has always been deeply invested in Latin American issues. She is passionate about Latin American politics, human rights, and community development. She is looking forward to using storytelling as a tool for advocacy while writing about Ecuador, Guatemala, and Venezuela as a Latin American Correspondent. Maria is excited to highlight and learn from the important work being done by local organizations in the region and hopes to bring Latin American voices to the forefront.

Jordan Hopp | University of San Francisco
Jordan is a rising senior at the University of San Francisco. As a Sociology major and a Latin American Studies minor, Jordan is constantly striving to immerse himself within diverse environments in which he may learn about the various issues and obstacles that individuals face within modern society. Jordan has participated in two university-sponsored immersion programs,in which he has studied issues of transnational migration, street children, and human sex trafficking in both Puebla, Mexico and Lima, Peru. Jordan is particularly interested in the presence of violence, the effects of migration, gender inequalities, and grassroots movements of social change within Latin America. He hopes that his work as a Latin American Correspondent will provide him with an incredible opportunity to implement his passions for community outreach, social justice, and humanitarian aid on a global scale, and shine light on the lives of individuals whose experiences are often neglected.

Jeysa Martinez | Pomona College
Jeysa is a rising sophomore at Pomona College where she is double majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies and Africana Studies. Jeysa was born and raised in The Bronx in New York City, to two immigrants from the Dominican Republic who from early on helped her become enamored with her Caribbean identity. As a Latin American Correspondent, Jeysa anticipates to highlight the lives and struggles of Latinx individuals in the Caribbean, particularly Afro-Latinx individuals, who face immense erasure within our community. In doing so, she hopes to challenge the flawed concept that is known as “Latinidad”, and bring more awareness to the social issues impacting our most vulnerable communities in Latin America. Jeysa is incredibly excited for the opportunity to make these important contributions to Latina Republic and to engage in non-profit work through her love of writing.

Lydia Millhon | Wake Forest University
Lydia Millhon is in her final year at Wake Forest University pursuing a major in Spanish with concentrations in interpreting and translation/localization and two minors in Latin American Studies and Politics and International Affairs. Born in Columbus, OH, Lydia always found ways to get involved with community outreach programs. Lydia’s humanitarian experience ranges from tutoring Spanish speaking children to participating in local projects to raise awareness of the U.S. Immigration Crisis and creating a bilingual portfolio for incoming Spanish speaking individuals and families with a local non-profit organization, Columbus Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). Throughout her Wake Forest career, Lydia has taken advantage of various study abroad opportunities including two summers in Cuba studying Cuban art and literature and a semester in Salamanca, Spain studying the language, politics, and literature. Lydia strives to combine her passions for cultural studies, especially with visual arts, into all of her projects and curriculum. Aside from her fascination and participation in modern dance, Lydia has experience in theatrical, instrumental, and poetic performances cross-culturally. As a part of the Latina Republic Correspondent position, Lydia hopes to further her studies in social issues such as immigration, human rights concerns, and state violence as well as other significant cultural topics including visual arts, environmental action, and local businesses. In pursuit of global human connection, Lydia hopes to unite Latin America with and open the eyes of those around the world.

Alfredo Eladio Moreno | Pomona College
Alfredo is a second year student at Pomona College studying Latin American Studies. Although he has a profound background in medicine and chemistry, Alfredo hopes to nurture his knowledge of Latin America and the Caribbean, and possibly mix both disciplines. He seeks to combine his passion for history and advocacy by drawing on his natural talents of storytelling and helping people realize their full potential. As a Latin American Correspondent, Alfredo is not only excited to write compelling narratives and forge long-lasting friendships, but also inspired to create actionable change through non-profit work.

Sofia Manuela Munoz | Scripps College
Sofia is a rising junior at Scripps College pursuing a major in Politics with a concentration in International Relations and a minor in Foreign Languages. Raised in Silver Spring, MD, a suburb of Washington, D.C., she is the daughter of two Bolivian immigrants. Her interest in Latin American politics stems from her connection to her family’s culture and her experience living in Brazil. She is interested in exploring the different sides of international development work and looking at the ways local people and organizations impact their communities. As a Latin American correspondent, Sofia is excited to delve into the unique stories and passion that fuels the work being done to address inequality, human rights, and community development.

Angel Ornelas | Claremont McKenna College
Angel is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in History and International Relations at Claremont McKenna College. Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Angel is the son of Mexican immigrants. His father is from Leon, Guanajuato, and his mother is from Juárez, Chihuahua. On campus, Angel is actively involved with the Chicano Latino Student Affairs center and the Queer Resource Center as a mentor. Throughout his undergraduate career thus far, Angel has done fieldwork in Los Angeles and Mexico City. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Angel plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in Anthropology in the hopes of becoming an anthropologist. He hopes to make significant contributions to Latina Republic and is excited to forge friendships with leaders in América Latina.

Gaby Sierra | Wake Forest University
Gaby is a rising Junior at Wake Forest University who is majoring in Politics with a minor in Economics. Born in Houston, Texas, Gaby’s parents are immigrants from Honduras, somewhere she returns to, frequently. As a result, she has maintained a close and valued connection to her Honduran origins. Throughout her life, she has had the opportunity to live in countries within Asia, Europe, North and South America. Particularly impactful was her family’s residence in Venezuela from 2016 to 2019, through which she was able to witness the devastating impacts of the Maduro regime. This experience ignited a passion for advocacy against the human rights violations and other injustices many regularly endure in the country, matters which Gaby hopes to emphasize further through her work with Latina republic. At Wake Forest, Gaby is actively involved in the Intersectional Feminist Collective, a group which aims to address as well as counter any sexist policies and mindsets on campus. With Latina Republic, she looks forward to reporting and learning more about stories not typically addressed in more mainstream media.

Ciara Sotomayor | Wake Forest University
Now in her last year at Wake Forest University, Ciara is completing her studies in Politics & International Affairs, as well as Spanish. Her interest in international politics stems from her experiences living in different cultures as a military dependent and her family’s connection to Puerto Rico. While on campus, she involved herself in the surrounding community as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a coeducational community service fraternity and as a staff writer for the student newspaper, The Old Gold & Black. In 2019, she received the Richter Scholarship to investigate the effects of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico and studied the Spanish language and politics in Salamanca, Spain. Always a lover of storytelling, she is excited to be a Latin American Correspondent to develop understanding of human rights in Latin America and participate in journalistic advocacy to highlight the efforts being made to protect them. After graduation, she hopes to continue supporting community efforts towards development by broadening the types of narratives told about Latin America in the rest of the world.

Judith Trujillo | UC Irvine
Judith Trujillo is a recent graduate of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Political Science and Chicano Latino Studies. During her time at UCI, she studied abroad in Bangkok, Thailand and Bogota, Colombia where she was able to learn about the regions socio-political issues. Her educational experiences, as well as her parents Salvadoran immigrant background continues to be very influential in her academic and professional pursuits. Judith has worked collaboratively with professors and grad students on research projects examining police reform, latinx partisanship, and the experiences of trans-latinx migrants. She is passionate about how environmental and human rights intersect and looks forward to covering those topics at Latina Republic where she will be covering the countries of Argentina, Paraguay and Haiti. Additionally she hopes to highlight original stories from individuals in each country and NGO’s alike about the regions strength, resilience, and social issues. In the near future she hopes to use her knowledge and experiences to pursue a J.D. and work with human rights organizations to do her part in giving a voice to those who often go unheard.

Grant Writer – International Development Internship

Katherine Canally | Villanova University
Katherine Canally is a recent 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 non-profit that helped enrich students in the local community via education and arts. Back at school, she was a part of Villanova’s Day of Service Initiative and wrote multiple research papers on Language Policy in Morocco! Katherine now lives in Boston where in her spare time she loves to walk her dog, play tennis and spend time with her family. She is thrilled to be a part of the Latina Republic team, to learn more about the northern triangle region and to contribute to development in the region overall!

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