Program Staff 2021

Our staff is comprised of Latinx women who are Assistant Professors, Primary and Secondary Teachers, business professionals, graduate students and undergraduates.

We are also writers, poets, singers, dancers and artists. We bring our wisdom, love for writing and our individual talents together to facilitate a unique experience for our #ChicasFuertes.

Writing Mentors

Tracey

Program Director / Writing Mentor

Full Name: Dr. Tracey T. Flores 

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Phoenix, AZ 

Current Position: Assistant Professor at UT Austin

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Hobbies: Running, Writing, Reading Children’s Literature & Young Adult Literature, Taking Pictures of Cactus, Drinking Coffee 

Why I Write: I write for my mother, my Nana Josie, for my daughter, Milagros and for my students. I write to unearth our histories, illuminate our stories and break silences. I write to heal and to dream of a new world alongside our chicas. 

Sandra

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Sandra Mariella Saco

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Glendora, CA

Current Position: Teaching Assistant and 2nd year doctoral student at Arizona State University. 

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2020

Hobbies: Biking, hiking, film photography, ANYTHING involving my dogs, cooking, traveling, reading YAL and writing. 

Why I Write: I write for my parents, for my husband, for my students and for myself. To shed light on the diversity, beauty and complexity of our stories and where we come from. 

Alethea 

Writing Mentor, Google Classroom Coordinator

Full Name: Alethea Maldonado

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Rockdale, Texas

Current Position: ESL Teacher – Lockhart Junior High

Number of Years with our program: 2019 Program Presenter, Staffed in 2020

Hobbies: Reading, writing, playing with my cats, and staying active through running, tennis, volleyball, softball

Why I Write: I write because I love to put my thoughts on paper. I always discover something new about myself when I try different writing strategies when I write. I think it’s important to preserve your thoughts and ideas on paper in different forms and to share your writing with those around you. Every person has something to say and share and writing allows you to discover that part of you and your connection with those around you.  

Calista

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Calista R. Llamas

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Lockhart, TX

Current Position: 4th grade classroom teacher

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2020

Hobbies: Watching baseball and TikToks, running, painting, journaling, spending time with family, and playing with my cats

Why I Write: I write for myself, my family, and my students. I write to solidify my ideas and reflect on my experiences in life. I write to share my story in hopes of encouraging others to share theirs.   

Iris

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Iris Treinies

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Current Position: 3rd grade teacher in Austin

Number of Years with our program: Program Support 2018, 2019, 2020

Hobbies: reading, cooking, hiking, thrifting, crafting

Why I Write: I write to organize my thoughts and feelings- each word is a piece untangled in the web of my brain. I write to express all the things I want to scream to the world. Each time I write, I get a little bit braver. I write to keep track of my experiences, so I can make sense of them and share them with the younger generation.

Desiree

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Desiree Munro

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Current Position: 2nd grade teacher – Polk County Florida 

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2019, 2020

Hobbies: Reading, writing, traveling, yoga, and learning tik tok dances. 

Why I Write: I write because for me it helps me hold onto the memories I have had and to reflect back on how I may have felt in different phases of my life. I write to share my perspectives on things. I write to gather my thoughts and when I’m ready, share these thoughts with the world in hopes to make it a better place.

Gabriela Z.

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Gabriela Zuniga

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Houston, TX

Current Position: Field Supervisor at UT Austin

Hobbies: Baking and Cooking, Writing, Reading, Weight Training, Hiking, Binge-Watching shows

Why I Write: I write for the women that came before me who embodied radical love and care, my abuelitas, for my mom, my son Santiago and for my students. I write to keep memories alive, to find the strength and healing, and to bring voice to our narratives that are often silenced.


Program Support

Stephanie

Multimedia Designer

Full Name: Stephanie M. Flores

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona 

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020

Current Position: Community Wellness Entrepreneur / Studying Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Small Business Management

Hobbies: Listening to music, watching movies, reading, crafts, blogging, yoga, and connecting with friends.

Why I Write: I started writing to practice vulnerability, which led me to start my own blog. Now, I write to empower others to honor themselves and their voice. I also write to remember my experiences and feelings and clarify my ideas.

Gabrielle K.

Public Relations/ Writing Mentor

Full Name: Gabrielle Keene

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Houston, TX 

Current Position: Sociology and Journalism senior at UT Austin

Hobbies: Painting, Hula Hooping, Writing, Reading, Taking care of my plants and fish, Baking, Biking

Why I Write: I write for my younger sister, my parents, my grandparents, and myself. I write to amplify the silenced voices of my ancestors. I write to shine a light on stories of resilience and hope.

Yaikira

Program Support

Full Name: Yaikira Vazquez Rivera

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: San German, Puerto Rico 

Number of Years with our program: Staffed in 2020

Current Position: Private Tutor

Hobbies: Dancing, Exploring crafts, Organizing Events 

Why I Write: I write to share the story of my ancestors and to give a platform to Latina’s who have been historically repressed.