Meet the Staff

Carina Olaru

Carina Olaru

Director, Latino Cultural Center & Director, Student Advocacy and Education

Carina Olaru (She/Her/Hers), a Chicago native and daughter of Mexican immigrants, joined Purdue University as the Director of the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in 2016. Under her leadership, the Latinx student population continues to grow and thrive at Purdue University. In 2017, Carina was responsible for the expansion, renovation, and relocation of the LCC and her vision ensured that the new space was intentionally inclusive and representative of diverse Latinx communities. Her mentorship and support of students, faculty and staff has been the source of the revival of the Latinx Student Union (LSU), the Latinx Graduation Student Association (LGSO) and the Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA). In 2020, due to Carina and her team's efforts, the LCC recorded its highest visitation since its opening in 2003 and averages approximately 1,200 visits per month. Olaru established a local and statewide presence for the Latino Cultural Center working closely with Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies, Indiana Latino Expo, Latino Center for Wellness and Education and the Indiana Latino Institute; and has been an integral part of the planning committee for the Indiana Latino Education Summit and presented at the Indiana Latino Higher Education Consortium. Olaru engages in teaching and learning opportunities and has provided training about Latindad and DACA support for faculty and staff. Carina was awarded Educator of the Year by the Indiana Latino Expo in 2019, is serving a two-year term on the Indiana Latino Institute's Latino (ILI) Legislative Committee, and was selected as part of the ILI Latino Leadership Circle in 2021. Olaru also serves as the Director of Student Advocacy and Education. 
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. Professor Olaru was recognized by her colleagues for her work with students and the community when presented the Hatch Award for Distinguished Service and by students who honored her as Outstanding Career Mentor and in the annual Honor Walk for graduating students.
Carina received her bachelor's degree in English and Latin American and Latino Studies with a minor in Spanish from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. 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. In her spare time, she upcycles furniture, reads, gardens, and spends time her partner and their smart and talkative daughter.
See Carina's CV here.

Join the Team!

We are hiring an Assistant Director. 

Reporting to and working collaboratively with the Director of the Latino Cultural Center (LCC), the Assistant Director (AD) provides administrative leadership in the areas of student success, program management and operations at the Latino Cultural Center.  The Assistant Director supports the Director in implementation and assessment of diversity initiatives that support diverse Latinx communities, as well s creates cultural understanding of Latinx and Latin American communities for stakeholders.  In this role, the AD works with internal and external constituencies on diversity initiatives and implementation.  The AD develops, leads and facilitates educational opportunities that reach students, staff, faculty, administrators and stakeholders.  The AD leads the management and analyses of data, compiles annual reports, and builds presentations and reports.  They have shared oversight of Center branding, marketing, and external communications.  Must stay abreast of national trends in student success and issues facing Latinx communities.

The Senior Diversity administrator serves as the Assistant Director of the Latino Cultural Center (LCC).  In this role, the Assistant Director works collaboratively with the Director to raise the visibility, improve operations, manage projects and increase Latinx students' retention and graduation.  Responsibilities include developing yearlong cultural and educationally transformative programming, and designing student success programming focused on college knowledge and academic and professional development.  Moreover, the AD is responsible for assessment and analysis of data related to programming and Latinx student enrollment, retention and graduation rates, and staying up to date on current rends affecting Latino/a/x in higher education.

The Assistant Director is effective at solving complex problems and uses data-driven knowledge to close gaps in initiatives that enhance Latinx student experience and impacts recruitment and retention, and create a more inclusive and diverse campus.  In this role, the Senior Diversity Administrator fosters relationships across campus and off campus, designs educational, cultural and student success programming aimed at maximizing student potential, and takes a leadership role and serves as a stand-in for the Director when they are unavailable, and helps to manage operations of the LCC.


  • Develop, implement and assess educationally transformative programs that result in cultural awareness and appreciation for diversity and cross-cultural engagement centering on Latin American and Latinx cultures.  Design, implement and assess retention programming with a strong focus on enhancing the Latinx student experience.  Develop data-informed strategies to meet dynamic needs of diverse Latinx student populations.
  • Manage collaborations with campus partners such as admissions, counseling and psychological services, writing lab, and student activities and organizations to maintain and expand network that enhances engagement and supports success of diverse student population and development via the LCC.  Lead and meet with the Latinx Student Council comprised of approximately 20 student organizations and create opportunities for learning, leadership, cultural awareness and professional development.
  • Collect, maintain and manage quantitative and qualitative data, and use to assess participant satisfaction, effectiveness in addressing/teaching learning outcomes, attendance, marketing effectiveness, and participant demographics.  Carefully analyze participant submissions and evaluates overall participant satisfaction, effectiveness of event, and overall marketing impact by identifying overarching themes.  Create reports and presentations identifying statistical and qualitative results, trends, and suggested changes based on results.
  • Shared management of the LCC brand identity, along with external communications and public relations following Purdue University branding.  Train student employees in LucidPress or university approved branding and marketing strategies in print and digital platforms.
  • Expand outreach efforts to maximize recruitment and retention of diverse Latinx communities.  Develop and implement campus and community opportunities and initiatives that reach students, staff, faculty, administrators and local and state-level organizations.  Maintain and expand ties with off-campus partners; and represent the LCC at state and national-level opportunities such as the Indiana Latino Expo and the Indiana Latino Institute Higher Education Summit, USHLI and HACU.
  • Assist with development initiatives including Purdue Day of Giving.  Develop projected budgets for programs and present them to Director for approval.  Maintain records of past programming, budgets, assessments, volunteers.

Apply at

Requisition ID: 25353

Guillermo Morgado

Guillermo Morgado 

Administrative Assistant


Guillermo Morgado Rodriguez(he/him/his), joined the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in January 2023 as the senior administrative assistant. Prior to joining the LCC, Guillermo worked for the Office of Recruitment, Retention and Diversity in Purdue Polytechnic for seven years. Guillermo brings experience in working with undergraduate students to maximize their full potential and serves as the supervisor for the LCC's undergraduate student employees.  

In 2018 and in 2022, Guillermo received the Purdue University Bravo Award for Operational Excellence, showing extraordinary efforts during times of critical department need exceeding expected or required performance. 

Guillermo is a licensed esthetician and truly enjoys make up!  He also enjoys dancing, the outdoors, and healthy food options! He is always willing to lend a helping hand and can’t help but spread his positive attitude.  While working at Purdue, he has helped many students and staff reach their potential and increases positivity wherever he goes. He is truly one of a kind. 

Guillermo Morgado

René Zúñiga-Argüello

Graduate Assistant

René Zúñiga-Argüello is a Ph.D. candidate in Linguistics who joined the LCC as a graduate assistant in August of 2022. René comes from Costa Rica where he grew up in Santo Domingo de Heredia, a beautiful town near the capital city of the country. There, René did his Bachelor’s degree in English Teaching at Universidad Nacional (UNA), and his Master’s in Linguistics at Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR). He and his family moved to West Lafayette in 2017 to start his PhD at Purdue.

Before moving to Indiana, he had been a researcher and Linguistics lecturer at UNA and UCR for almost a decade. During this time, he did research on creole languages spoken in the Caribbean coast of Central America, specifically Limonese Creole. He collaborated with the speaking communities to revitalize and empower the language through workshops, material development, language policy, presentations, lectures among others. His passion and work on these matters let him join the Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab at Purdue where he develops his research project focused on motion predicates in Limonese Creole.  

René is the current president of the Costa Rican Students Association at Purdue where they have become a link between the community of Costa Ricans who study, work or visit Purdue, and people who are interested in the country.  After being in the US for five years, he believes that the most important for people who are far from home is to integrate into a community that makes up for the bonds they have just left back at home. It is here where he thinks the LCC comes into play as a community for all those in need of a place to be más cerca de casa.

During warmer seasons, René enjoys playing soccer whenever he can, having some friends come over for a carne asada at home, and going to a pool, river or lake (since there are sadly no beaches around) for a little swimming. In winter and fall, he likes meeting and dancing with friends at home and going snow sliding sometimes.


Moacir Fonseca Becker

Graduate Assistant

Moacir Fonseca Becker (he/him/his) joined LCC in January 2023 as a Graduate Assistant. Currently, Moacir is studying for a Master's in Aeronautics and Astronautics at Purdue University with a focus on space systems and a minor in control. Moacir was born and raised in Costa Rica and also holds a Brazilian citizenship. He was raised in a bicultural environment. He graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Costa Rica and spent half a year studying abroad at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Moacir has been an advocate and actor in the development of the space sector in Central America, where he has been involved in space student groups, in charge of running microgravity experiments and, most recently, the development of the first Honduran satellite.  

During his free-time, Moacir enjoys surfing and scuba diving anytime he has a chance to go back to his tropical lands. He also enjoys doing calisthenics, playing basketball, drumming, working out, listening to podcasts, and meditation. 


Juan Lozano 

Undergraduate Student Employee

Juan Antony Lozano (he/him/his) joined the Latino Cultural Center as an undergraduate student worker in September of 2022. He is a Junior at Purdue majoring in Landscape Architecture and minoring in Spanish. Juan Is a first-generation college student that was born and raised in Indiana but comes from a Mexican background due to his parents who grew up in Guanajuato, Mexico. Juan is involved with different organizations on campus like being a general member of the Latinx Student Union, and Purdue American Society of Landscape Architects. Juan is also a brother of an international fraternity called Sigma Lambda Beta International Fraternity, Incorporated. During Juan’s free time he likes to workout at the gym, play soccer with friends, and enjoys spending time with his friends/family. 

Derick Venegas.jpg

Derick Antonio Vanegas 

Undergraduate Student Employee

Derick Antonio Vanegas (he/him/his) joined the Latino Cultural Center as an undergraduate student worker in September of 2022. He is a Junior at Purdue majoring in Organizational Leadership. Born to an Ecuadorian mother and a Nicaraguan father, Derick is a first-generation college student who was born and raised in New Jersey. On campus, Derick also works at the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center as a Wellness Ambassador based in the Wellness Suite. He is the Director of Special Events for the Latinx Student Union. Derick is a mentor and alumnus of the Avanzando Through College where he works and interacts with other first-generation college students. In his free time, Derick enjoys spending time with family and friends, singing, and playing board games.



Silvana Cuervo

Undergraduate Student Employee

Silvana Cuervo (she/her/hers) is a freshman and joined the LCC as an undergraduate assistant in September of 2021. She is studying engineering and intends to pursue industrial engineering. Silvana grew up in South Carolina, and her family is from Colombia. On campus, Silvana is a part of the Purdue Student Engineering Foundation (PSEF), where she helps promote engineering to prospective students, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). In high school, she was very involved with the speech and debate team. Silvana loves spending time outside playing volleyball, hiking, and gardening.

Elizabeth Reyes

Undergraduate Student Employee


Elizabeth Reyes (she/her/hers) joined the Latino Cultural Center in September 2021. She is a junior studying Kinesiology with a minor of Psychology at Purdue. She plans to attend graduate school to become an Occupational Therapist. Elizabeth was a Boiler Gold Rush Team Supervisor in 2022 and is also involved in the Health and Kinesiology Undergraduate Club. She is also sister of Delta Phi Mu, Sorority Inc. here at Purdue. Elizabeth is from Northwest Indiana and has been a Purdue fan her whole life. Apart from studying to get her undergraduate degree, Elizabeth loves to run, do DIY projects, and spend time with her family and friends.

Giezzy Chavez-Duarte 

Undergraduate Student Employee


Giezzy Chavez-Duarte (he/him/his) is a junior and joined the Latino Cultural Center through the Avanzando Through College program (2021-2022) as a participant. He is majoring in Nuclear Engineering and pursuing a radiology minor as well. Giezzy participates in the American Nuclear Society Purdue Chapter and is also an active member of Alpha Phi Omega where he is currently Historian Co-Chair for the chapter.  Giezzy was born in Orange County, California and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana before coming to Purdue. His family is from Guerrero, Mexico. Giezzy enjoys playing tennis, riding around on his longboard, going to the gym, and participating in events with friends.


Kamilah Valentín Díaz 

Undergraduate Student Employee


Kamilah Mercedes Valentín Díaz is a senior at Purdue University studying Political Science with minors in Anthropology and English. She’s also a chronic overthinker who reads, writes, and fights her way through life.

In 2022, she recently published her debut poetry collection, Moriviví: To have Died yet Lived, with Alegria Publishing. Though the pandemic took much it also gave, and it gave her the opportunity to write. At Purdue and the LCC she fulfills the role of a mentor and coordinator through the Avanazando Through College program. She is also the facilator for Spanish Conversation Tables, open to all. Not only does she write creatively but also professionally for the Office of Engagement and serves as Journal Coordinator for the Purdue Journal of Service Learning.

Originally from Puerto Rico, Kamilah is an islander at heart despite living in diaspora for over a decade. As a Boricua committed to decolonization, she finds her vehicle to resistance through art, activism, and community-building. Exploring topics of girlhood, place, space, culture, mental health, and home she hopes to challenge others to follow their calling.