Our Mission

Increase college enrollment and completion among Latino youth who are first in their family to attend college by providing guidance and access to opportunity through education, advocacy, and collaboration. We transform lives by making college dreams a reality for first-generation students.

Our Vision

We strive to ensure that all Latino youth have the opportunity to earn a college degree and fulfill their remarkable potential. 

Higher education paves the way for a better and brighter future, especially in a rapidly evolving economy. LUCA seeks to level the playing field by partnering with first-generation Latino youth to help them achieve their dreams. Through advocacy, community education, and student workshops, LUCA promotes college enrollment and prepares students for their journey to graduation.

Planning for college and making college a successful, affordable experience can be a challenge. Our programs educate, guide, and support students through the complex process, including submitting applications, qualifying for financial aid, and admissions. We provide bilingual, culturally-relevant assistance to help Latino students and their families achieve their dreams.

The LUCA Team

Latino U College Access was formed by a group of dedicated and experienced professionals with exemplary careers in non-profit management, business and education.

We each share a commitment and passion to the mission of LUCA. Together with the assistance of volunteers, community partners and collaborators, we are committed to ensuring that Latino youth attain equity and opportunity for a brighter future.

Board of Directors

    Lisa M. Bell Treasurer
    US Bank National Association
    Vice President

    Patricia Bogoya-Bravo
    Senior Director

    Shirley Acevedo Buontempo
    Latino U College Access

    Shawn Edwards – Vice Chairman
    Bloomberg LP
    Chief Technology Officer

    Christine Louvet
    Louvet Consulting

    Jane Matluck
    Community Volunteer

    Miguel Mendez
    Morgan Stanley
    Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion

    Stephen Moroney Chairman
    TD Bank
    SVP, Regional Manager

    Aldo J. Polak
    Mizuho Securities
    Managing Director

    Clara Román
    Houlihan Lawrence
    Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

    Matthew Searles
    Merritt Healthcare Holdings, LLC

    Scott Silverstein
    Yolo Candy
    Chief Executive Officer

    Rodrigo Trelles Zabala
    UBS O'Connor
    Managing Director

    Dalia Valdés
    Julia B Fee Sotheby’s International Realty
    Real Estate Associate Broker


Cosette Gutierrez, Executive Director
Shirley Acevedo Buontempo,
Founder & Strategic Growth Officer
Chabely Ramos, Director of Programs
Jessica Timms, Director of Advancement
Julie DelValle Nunn, Operations Manager
Elena Pellegrini, College Access Program Manager
Stephany Ramirez, College Success Program Manager
Gabriella Camacho, Communications & Volunteer Coordinator
Kaylin Campos, Program Coordinator
Denisse Gayosso-Lucano, Program Coordinator
Debbie Shiffman, College Coach Advisor
Marc Finder, Data Administrator

Advisory Council

Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, MPA
LUCA Founding Board Member
VP of Community Health
Open Door Family Medical Center

James Cotto
Senior Vice President
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Janine Ting Jansen
Senior Director of Inclusion & Diversity
Teva Pharmaceuticals 

Rafael Palomino
Palomino Restaurant Group
Executive Chef & Proprietor

Hilda H. Polanco, CPA
Founder & CEO
Fiscal Management Associates, LLC

Nathalie Vanheusden
Global Administration Director
Debevoise & Plimpton

Cynthia Rivera Weissblum
President & CEO
Edwin Gould Foundation

Emerging Leaders Board

Cristian Campozano Secretary

Jonathan Campozano President
Assistant County Attorney
Westchester Law Department

Andrés Castillo Quintana
Latino U Scholar Alum
Patient Engagement Manager
Open Door Family Medical Center

Maria Jaime
Director of Analytics

Ana Karen Ortiz
Research Coordinator
Weill Cornell Medicine

Miguel Sanchez Robles Vice President
Assistant Director of Admissions
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University 

Intern Opportunities

We welcome and value interns to support our staff and programs.  Interns will gain valuable work experience while helping achieve our mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Latino U College Access a 501 (c) (3) organization?

Latino U College Access is a registered 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Where do you provide services?

We offer workshops and volunteer "college coaching" programs in participating school districts in Westchester County, New York. We are available to host information sessions at other locations when scheduling permits.

How can I refer someone who needs your services?

Please email a request and provide the student's information, grade, school and the town / city they live in to us at info@latinou.org