Meet the Staff
Carina Olaru joined Purdue University as the Director of the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in 2016. Prior to joining the LCC, Carina Olaru was an assistant professor in the Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures department at Monmouth College, where she taught Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Literature. At Monmouth, she organized Latino College Day and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals workshops, and she served on the Quality Initiative Committee that focused on the retention and college experience of first-generation college students. Carina also was instrumental in cultural programming that created opportunities for meaningful dialogue and understanding. She co-founded the community organization Latinos Unidos de Monmouth that organized temporary visitor’s driver’s license workshops and organized a 5K that raised funds to provide scholarships to local Latino high school students. She also increased the number of students studying abroad as the campus representative for the International Student Exchange Program. Professor Olaru was recognized by her colleagues for her work when awarded the Hatch Award for Distinguished Service and by students who honored her as Outstanding Career Mentor and recognized her in the annual Honor Walk for fourth-year students.
Carina received her bachelor's degree in English and Latin American and Latino Studies with a minor in Spanish from DePaul University. She studied in Mérida, México, and, as a McNair Scholar, conducted graduate-level research in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was the student representative of the Latin American and Latino Studies program, a McNair Scholar and a student employee of the Center for Latino Research where she interviewed writers like Helena María Viramontes and Junot Díaz. She received her master's in Hispanic literatures with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her graduate studies in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she taught a variety of courses, worked as a research assistant, conducted research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, afforded by the Tinker Field Research Grant, and studied in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil as a recipient of the Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship.
As the director of the Latino Cultural Center, Carina works to strengthen the ties between the Latino Cultural Center and the Greater Lafayette community; advocate for students, faculty. and staff who are underrepresented in higher education; continue to maintain the LCC as a safe space for all students; and contribute to an atmosphere of understanding and inclusion.
In her spare time, Carina enjoys learning Romanian phrases from her partner, reading, and baking, and she looks forward to getting back into weight training, PIYO and kickboxing.
Juan Robles joined Purdue University as the Program Coordinator of the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in July 2017. Before coming to the LCC, Juan was an outreach coordinator for the Center for Multicultural and Diversity Education at the University of Arkansas, where he worked closely with first-generation low-income and underrepresented students to support their academic success and promote diversity and inclusion. While at the University of Arkansas, Juan organized academic and social programs aimed at developing cultural competence and student development.
He earned his bachelor's degree in Ppolitical Science and International Languages from Arkansas State University. While there, he worked diligently to empower Latinx students by establishing networking opportunities, social programs, and academic forums for students, faculty, and staff. Juan also served the Northeast Arkansas community by being an AmeriCorps volunteer, where he volunteered over 900 hours to mentor students, developing educational programs and providing translation services. He received his Master's in Education from the University of Arkansas where he focused on higher education and student affairs. While pursuing his master's degree, Juan was an active member of The Higher Education Organization as well as the Chi Sigma Alpha Honor Society. He is an active member of the American College Personnel Association and the ACPA Latinx Network, and was recognized as the NASPA Rising Star for the state of Arkansas in 2016.
As the program coordinator, Juan looks most forward to creating opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the Greater Lafayette community to come together and celebrate the diverse, rich cultures and identities present on Purdue University's campus. He also looks forward to collaborating with campus and community partners with the purpose of creating programs that will foster a greater sense of community for students, both on campus and off campus.
In his free time, Juan enjoys traveling, going to festivals and concerts, doing Zumba, and running 10K's and marathon relays. He also looks forward to learning American Sign Language to better serve students who identify as deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Tiffany Montoya joined the LCC staff in July of 2018. She is a PhD candidate in the Philosophy department; she writes about social and political theory, ethics, and philosophy of race. She serves on the Liberal Arts Diversity Action Committee for Purdue's college of Liberal Arts, and was the Diversity and Inclusion G.A. for the Department of Philosophy.
At Purdue, she has been an organizer for many activist projects both on campus and in the community. She is always willing to assist in causes involving the rights of workers, immigrants, women, LGBTQ communities, and the "Movement for Black Lives".
Tiffany grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, she received two bachelor's degrees from the University of New Mexico - one in Philosophy and the other in Creative Writing. As a McNair Scholar, she did research in Existentialism and the philosophy of creativity.
She lives with her husband and two dogs. In her free time she enjoys a balance of loudness and quiet. For instance, sometimes she goes to rowdy punk concerts, she enjoys being in crowds of friends, walking in busy cities, and she is learning how to play the drums. But she also has a regular practice of meditation and yoga, and loves spending time in nature.
Business Operations Specialist
Dallas joined the Latino Cultural Center as the Business Operations Specialist in November 2016. Having graduated from Purdue in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing, he is very excited to be back on campus surrounded by the culture, energy, and excitement that comes from being in a university environment. He is passionate about meeting and speaking with new people, hearing their stories and learning as much as possible from those around him.
Dallas has lived in Lafayette for the past eight years. He lives with his wife (his high school sweetheart) and two cats. In his spare time, he enjoys baking — especially bagels and breads — and spending time with his family and friends. He is also a fan of card games and board games.