Leadership

Professional Staff

 


 
Marvin Casasola - Director (He, Him, His)

Hey Everyone!  I am the Director for the Latino Center. I have been at Tufts University since May 2019. I am originally from Paterson, NJ and my family background is Guatemalan. I earned my Bachelors Degree in Latin American Studies at the University of South Carolina and earned my Masters Degree in International Higher Education and Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. I have been working in education for 6 years and aim to leave a lasting impact on my community. I have a passion for learning about different ways to unite the Latinx Community and I am excited to welcome you all to the Latino Center.

 

 


 
 

 

 

Peer Leaders 2019-2020

 


 

 
Nashielli Diaz '22

Berkeley, CA - Biomedical Engineering and Latino Studies Minor

The LC has truly been a home away from home for me. It's the place that I go to when I feel lonely and need some cheering up. It's one of the places that I turn to cultivate community. Many in our community as well as other communities know how difficult it is not feeling as if you fit in or that you deserve to be here at Tufts which is a lot of what I felt throughout my entire freshman year and probably continue to struggle with. The LC has just been a place where I have found this common ground with many people which I have found very comforting. 

Other involvement: SOLES and STEM Ambassadors

 
 
 

 

 
Natalie Lopez '20

Lawrence, MA - Classics and International Relations Major

When I first arrived at Tufts, I didn’t think being half-Puerto Rican warranted any claim to the Latino Center. With the help of my peer leader and since becoming a peer leader, I’ve been able to reclaim that part of me and take pride in my identity. As a peer leader, I hope to help make the LC a welcoming place for all other students who want to be involved and utilize the space because the center is a home for everyone. From meeting so many of my now good friends to enduring long nights there during exam week, I’ve experienced the best and worst of times at the LC during my time at Tufts – but that’s college – and I’m excited to see what senior year has in store for me! 

Other Involvement: Chi Omega, Inter-Greek Council, Cummings/Hillel Program for Holocaust and Genocide Education


Valeria Lopez '21

Viera, FL - Biology Major

The LC has given me a place to find a community I was skeptical I would find at a predominately white institution. I grew up in an area where there was hardly any Latinx influence, which made it difficult for me to embrace my latinidad at first. Being in college and having a space where I can connect with people in a completely different way has been an incredibly rewarding experience. 

Other Involvement: Laidlaw Scholar, Kaplan lab research assistant, CORES, Volunteer at MGH, and Panhel Delegate for Chi Omega 



 
 

 
Oliver Martínez López ' 22

San Salvador, El Salvador - International Relations and Latino Studies Major

The Latino Center has become a space where I have found a second family. The connections I have made in that space allowed me to have a better transition to college in terms of academics and personal connections. The Latino Center is both a work space I can use between classes and a space for hanging out with friends and getting to know other people in the community.

Other Involvement: Tufts Teach-in CORES (Committee for Refugees from El Salvador), Tufts International Development in Costa Rica and Honduras, Association of Latin American Students (ALAS), Latin American Committee (LAC). 


 

 



 
Carolina Olea Lezama '22

Phoenix, AZ -  American Studies and Political Science Major

To me the Latino Center is a place that reminds me of home. It is the place where I feel the most happy at Tufts. The LC is the place where I have met some of the people who are so close to my heart, especially where I first met my best friend. I have gotten to connect with the older students who have helped me navigate through difficult times in college. I spent most of my first semester meeting people and doing homework in the lc and I came to love the community. At the LC, I have been able to learn more about my passions and how proud I am to be Latina.

Other Involvement: TCU Senate (Latinx Community Senator and Diversity Officer) Tisch Scholar, ROTI & RUM, ALAS


Mathew Peña '21

Bronx, NY - Computer Science

The LC has been a home to me since my BLAST summer. The place where I've spent hours upon hours of my days as a first-year finishing essays, projects, homework assignments, applications, club tasks, you name it. The LC is where I can be an intellectual and myself. From hours of the Tufts grind to hours of dancing Bachata, Merengue, y todo, the Latino Center has provided the space for me to do me.

Other Involvement: Tisch Scholar, Blast Scholar, Tufts Diversity Council, TUSC Concert Coordinator

 

 



 
Jesús Ramirez '20

Phoenix, AZ - Economics and Studio Art Major

I can’t even begin to fathom my Tufts career without the presence of the LC, despite the drastic that have occurred since I arrived. It offered me a homey environment I yearned for during my early days as a Jumbo. From the physical space filled with Latinx decorations I can relate to the students who also share the same feelings toward the center. Besides my dorm/living space, I spend most of my time at the LC whether that be studying for an exam or catching up with friends. So as a way to express my gratitude, I’ve participated and contributed in clubs and events respectively to ensure others, who are seeking a safe space at Tufts, also feel welcomed to form a part of this greater community. It’s satisfying to note my own growth, both academic and personal, through the space, but it’s very humbling to see underclassmen experiencing those positive changes as well. Therefore, I will aspire to do as much as I can for the center and to graduate knowing I will leave behind a cohesive community, one that will continue to bloom.

Other Involvement:  ALAS, LaFe



 
Jesse Ramos '22

Chicago, IL - Political Science and Religion Major

The Latino Center has been a second home for me while I'm away from Chicago. I have been able to engage with other Latinx students through talking, laughing, cooking, dancing, and singing. The transition from our communities to Tufts can be difficult, but having people to connect with during this transition helped me ease my way into college life. There's something for everyone at the Latino Center, even if you don't self-identify as a Latinx student. Come for the hospitality, stay for the amazing people. 

Other Involvement: Action for Sexual Assault Prevention for Tufts Men (ASAPtm), Association of Latin American Students (ALAS)

 



 
Eduardo Vargas Gutiérrez '22

South Bound Brook, NJ -  Environmental Engineering Major, Mathematics and Engineering Management Minor

The LC has been a second home. It all began with doing homework there or playing Wii with my friends over BEST summer. It was essentially a way for me to feel at home when far away from home and in a place where people look nothing like me. I felt safe, accepted, and comfortable to be me. I came to Tufts full of fear of struggling to find my place or having no one to relate to. But the day I first entered the LC, that fear instantly went away. Because of the LC and the people who are part of it, I feel much more supported and valued at Tufts. I feel as if my input is valued and my efforts appreciated. I feel like I belong and like I can genuinely succeed at college. I feel happy and as part of a new and amazing familia who will always have my back and support me until the day I get my diploma and beyond.

Other Involvement: Lantagne Group Research Lab assistant, STEM Ambassadors, SOLES Corporate Liaison, Club soccer



 
Chastidy Vasconez '22

Los Angeles, CA - Human Factors Engineering

I attended a high school where Latinx students made up over 90% of the student body, and as a first-generation college student, I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into a PWI. Upon arriving to Tufts I didn’t know anyone and quickly felt out of place. I had a difficult time acclimating to the rigor of my classes and navigating the whole college system. However, through the Latino Center, I found a community of people who could understand and relate to my experiences. I felt much more comfortable when I found out I wasn’t the only one going through these challenges, and it was relieving being able to talk about it. I was able to ask questions that I was too embarrassed to ask others and gain a lot of advice and insight from upper-class students. The LC quickly became a go-to spot for me, and I found myself there very often throughout the school year. Whether it be for hanging out with friends, attending calculus tutoring sessions, or napping in between classes, the LC was always a space I felt welcomed in.

Other Involvement: Society of Latinx Engineers and Scientists (SOLES), Association of Multiracial Students at Tufts (AMPT)


Peer Leaders Abroad


 
Maya Velasquez '21 - Tufts in Chile

New York, NY - Sociology and Peace and Justice Studies Double Major and Latino Studies Minor

I see the LC as a place to foster parts of my identity that don't necessarily feel represented or nourished in the larger Tufts community. Coming to Tufts was a culture shock for me and having an intentional space like the LC to talk about that and meet others who understand and have had similar experiences has been vital in making Tufts feel more like home and someplace where I do belong.

Other Involvement: Sex Health Rep, Strong Women Strong Girls mentor, Burlesque, Crafts Center, TCU Senate- Latinx community senator, Project Organizer on campus. Helping with research with the Sociology Department.

 

 


 
 
 
 
Melissa Cepeda '21

Bronx, NY - International Relations and Civic Studies

When I think of the LC I remember the smiling faces of friends as they walked in to share some great thing that had happened to them that day. But, I also remember the sad faces when it wasn't the greatest of days. The LC has been that place I can go to when there is no place I want to be at. It’s the space that has felt the closest thing to a home for me on this campus. You can just walk in and talk freely, like if we were one, weirdly related family.  

Other involvement:Tufts Encendido, Roti and Rum, ALAS, OCL Event Staff

 


 
Mariangela 'Sunshine' Morales '21

San Rafael, CA - Political Science Major

The LC is place where I find comfort, friends, and a home away from home.

Other Involvement: Petey Greene, TUPIT, CORES, Roti&Rum, ALAS