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.

Ebelin Gomez

Assistant Director, Latino Cultural Center

Ebelin (She/Her/Hers), was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She also received her Master’s degree in School Counseling from California Baptist University, along with her Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential. Prior to joining the LCC, Ebelin led and managed the alumni program for a network of charter schools in the Westlake/MacArthur Park area of Los Angeles, where she equipped first-generation college students with the tools and resources necessary to persist through college. There, she also led the Avanzando Through College program for three years. She comes to the LCC with seven years of experience working with first-generation Latinx students and diverse populations.

During her free time, she enjoys baking, reading, running, and spending time with her husband and two pugs, Romeo and Frida. She is new to the Midwest and is looking forward to experiencing all seasons! She is excited to connect with students at the LCC and provide support in building a sense of community and belonging within the Purdue community.

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. 

smiling woman with brown curly hair wearing red blouse

Lucía Ureña Rodríguez

Graduate Assistant

Lucia Ureña-Rodriguez (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate in Learning Design and Technology. Lucia joined LCC as a graduate assistant in May 2023. She grew up in Dota, a coffee-growing area in Costa Rica. She moved to the city to start her undergraduate studies at Universidad de Costa Rica. There, she studied her B.A. and master’s in English teaching. She moved to West Lafayette with her husband and daughter in 2019 for her doctoral studies at Purdue University.

Before coming to Purdue, Lucia worked as an assistant professor at Universidad de Costa Rica where she taught English integrated skills, oral communication, and pronunciation courses, mainly. She also taught in the senior citizens program and conversational courses program at this university.

During her free time, Lucia enjoys spending time with her daughter, going for walks, and crafting.


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. 

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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) 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.
woman with brown hair, smiling, wearing green t-shirt

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.