Program Staff 2022

Our staff is comprised of Latinas who are Assistant Professors, Teachers, business professionals, graduate students, and undergraduates who 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

Years with Somos: 2016 – Present

Favorite Book: Borderlands La Frontera: the New Mestiza by Glora Anzuldua

Favorite Song: Un Rinconcito en el Cielo

Favorite Quote: “To learn to read is to learn to walk. To learn to write is to learn to rise.” – José Martí

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. 

Calista

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Calista R. Llamas

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Lockhart, TX

Current Position:

4th-grade teacher- Luling ISD

Years with Somos:

2020 – Present

Favorite Book: Love by Matt de la Peña

Favorite Song: Drivers License

Favorite Quote:

Self-care is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left in you. 

What you bring to the program:

I bring a diverse and confident perspective to the space because I am the only person who can write and share MY story. I bring honesty, support, and encouragement to our girls. 

Why I Write:

I write for myself, my family, and my students. I write because it gives me a safe space to reflect, remember, and heal from life experiences. I write to preserve my memories, embrace who I am, and share my story in hopes of inspiring others to share theirs. 

Gabriela

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Gabriela Zuniga

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hometown: Houston, TX

Current Position: Dual Language Instructional Coach

Years with Somos: 2021 – Present

Favorite Book: The Alchemist

Favorite Song: Hasta la Raíz– Natalia Lafourcade

Favorite Quote:

Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore

What you bring to the program: 

I bring an open mind and spirit which will allow me to grow as a writer alongside our girls.

Why I Write:

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

Yaikira

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Yaikira Vazquez Rivera

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: San German, Puerto Rico 

Current Position: Special Education Compliance Facilitator 

Years with Somos: 2020 – Present

Favorite Book: Eat, Pray, Love

Favorite Song: Best of Me by BTS

Favorite Quote:

“Maybe I made a mistake yesterday, but yesterday’s me is still me. I am who I am today, with all my faults. Tomorrow I might be a tiny bit wiser, and that’s me, too. These faults and mistakes are what I am, making up the brightest stars in the constellation of my life. I have come to love myself for who I was, who I am, and who I hope to become.” – Kim Namjoon

What you bring to the program: 

The stories and voices of my ancestors bring me here.

Why I Write:  

I write to bring awareness. I write to tell the stories untold. I write to honor my loved ones. 

Iris

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Iris Treinies

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Current Position: 3rd-grade teacher in Austin

Years with Somos: 2018 – Present

Favorite Book: The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen

Favorite Song: Carolina by Harry Styles

Favorite Quote: “A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one.”

What you bring to the program: 

Something I bring to the space is a sense of humor! There is so much joy in being connected with new and familiar people.

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.

Tess

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Tess Covey

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Current Position: 3rd-year college attendee at The University of Texas at Austin

Years with Somos: 1st time Mentor

Favorite Book: Divergent

Favorite Song: Heart Eyes by COIN

Favorite Quote:

“It’s not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences.” – Audrey Lorde

What you bring to the program: 

Coming into Somos Escrituras, I bring a passion and desire to empower those who have been silenced continuously throughout history through different forms of writing. 

Why I Write:

I write with the intention to promote and educate others on my own beliefs, values, passions, and interests. I also enjoy exploring various forms of writing which challenge me to think both creatively and critically!

Kathryn

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Kathryn D. Rosa

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Mission, TX

Current Position: Junior Elementary Education major at UT!

Years with Somos: 1st time Mentor

Favorite Book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Favorite Song: It changes all the time, but my current favorite is “As It Was” by Harry Styles

Favorite Quote:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

-Eleanor Roosevelt

What you bring to the program: When I got to UT, I felt inferior to every other Latinx student because I didn’t speak Spanish. It took me a long time and the opportunity to find a strong group of Latinx and Hispanic students that were accepting of everyone regardless of what they couldn’t do. I embrace who I am, and who I am revolves around my heritage and my culture. I bring the willingness to give people a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Why I Write:

I write for all the people that have gotten me to where I am. I put my words to paper in hopes that they will tell the story of who I am and what I have to say. I write because words connect us in ways that speaking can lack. 

Deniss

Writing Mentor

Full Name: Deniss Moreno Lira

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Killeen, TX

Current Position: Third Year Early Childhood Education major at UT Austin.

Years with Somos: This is my first year in the program, and I am super excited to get to work with some amazing writers.

Favorite Book: Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin

Favorite Song: I don’t think I have a favorite song, but Perfecta by Reik ft. Maluma is a such a good song.

Favorite Quote:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples”

-Mother Teresa

What you bring to the program: To this space, I bring my enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I also bring my passion and hard work. I bring my most authentic and true self along with my dedication and belief in the power of words. I bring my experiences and the skills that I have learned throughout my time as a student and lifelong learner.

Why I Write:

I write to learn more about who I am and discover those parts of my identity that I have hidden for so long. I write to prove to myself that I am a writer. I write to tell a story and show my passion for education. I write to bring my voice into this world and break cycles. I write to pave the way for others to come.

Allegria

Peer Writing Mentor

Full Name: Allegria monet De Leon

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Austin, Texas

Current Position:

10th grade/sophomore in high school 

Years with Somos:

Participant in Summer 2018, Book Club 2022

1st time Mentor

Favorite Book: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Favorite Song: Honesty by Pink Sweat$

Favorite Quote:

“In a world that doesn’t want to hear me I refuse to be silent.” – The Poet x by Elizabeth Acevedo

What you bring to the program: 

A creative perspective and experience from being one of the first Somos Escritoras.

Why I Write:

I write because writing and creating are powerful tools that not only help me express myself when I’m not heard. I also write because I want to share the stories of not just myself but for others before me and for others’ voices who need to be heard. 


Program Support

Stephanie

Multimedia Designer / Zoom Management

Full Name: Stephanie M. Flores

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona 

Current Position: Social Media Marketing & Visual Communication: Branding Student | Yoga Teacher

Years with our Somos: 2016 – Present

Favorite Book: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Favorite Song: I Live by One Republic

& Marchin On by One Republic

Favorite quote: I say this to my yoga and meditation students: “Be an example of light and love.”

What I bring to the space:

I bring to the space my experience as a filmmaker, blogger, and designer, along with my knowledge of Improv, acting, and storytelling.

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.

Sandra

Program Planning

Full Name: Sandra Mariella Saco

Pronouns: She/Her/Ella 

Hometown: Glendora, CA

Current Position: I teach college writing composition and I am about to start my 3rd year as a doctoral student at Arizona State University. 

Years with our program: 2020 – present

Favorite Book: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 

Favorite Song: Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles 

Favorite Quote:

“Dum vita est spes est” Translation: While life is, hope is/While there is life, there is hope.

What I bring to the space:

I bring my curiosity and understanding to learn from all descriptors, to hear their stories, and learn from their experiences. 

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.