Victor "Chino" Torres
"My passion for education and serving my community has been a driving force in my career path."
Victor “Chino” Torres serves as the Interim Vice-President of Student Services and Equity at Imperial Valley College. Also, at IVC, he has served as Dean of Student Affairs, Enrollment Services, and Campus Safety and as Associate Dean and Non- Traditional Instruction.
Victor is a proud graduate of Westmorland Elementary School District and completed high school at Brawley Union High School. He is a graduate of San Diego State University where he studied Chicana/Chicano Studies. He obtained a Master of Arts in Education with an Emphasis in Counseling and Guidance from Point Loma Nazarene University. Victor is committed to creating equitable and inclusive environments for all students and ensuring that they have access to quality education.
Dissertation Title: Latinx Male Students from Rural Areas and their Experiences in Dual Enrollment Programs
Dissertation Description: This study seeks to address the critical gap in understanding the experiences of Latinx male students in dual enrollment programs, particularly those from rural communities. Dual enrollment programs have shown immense promise in increasing college access and success for underrepresented students. Through the lens of critical race theory, this research aims to delve into the complex interplay of institutional, social, and cultural factors that influence their experiences.
Dissertation Title: Pedagogy of Cariño: A Co-Constructed Framework With Puente Faculty
Dissertation Description: This study seeks to understand the experiences of Puente faculty within the Puente Summer Institute (PSI) context. Co-constructors will be asked questions about the ways they conceptualize and enact a pedagogy of cariño with their students as a result of the PSI training.
Cynthia Cordova serves as a General/Puente Counselor and Co-Coordinator of the Puente Project at Palomar College. Her passion for student learning in community college stems from personal experience. She shares: "As a student I saw the difference higher education could make in people’s lives."
Originally from Oceanside, Cynthia attended MiraCosta College then transferred to CSU San Marcos and obtained a B.A. in Psychology. She later earned her M.S. in Counseling from CSU Northridge.
As a Chicana, first-generation college student from an immigrant family, Cynthia is an advocate for student learning and building bridges to success. In her journey to reframe education for equity and social justice, she has pursued research topics that include the structural implementation of student development theories, establishing career curriculum across disciplines, studying perceptions/relationships between instructional and non-instructional faculty, and more.
Sandra Temores-Valdez is a third year doctoral candidate in San Diego State University’s Ed.D. in Community College Leadership Program.
Sandra's dissertation seeks to examine institutional support systems that foster a sense of belonging for Latinx transfer students who are pursuing degrees in STEM.
Dissertation Title: A Study on the Experiences of LGBTQ+ Latinx Students at California Community College Hispanic-Serving Institutions
Dissertation Description: Yolanda's research agenda focuses on advancing and supporting LGBTQ+ Latinx students on campus. Her dissertation topic centers the experiences of LGBTQ+ Latinx students attending Community College HSIs in California.
Dra. Yolanda Cataño
Yolanda Cataño, Ed.D., is a graduate from San Diego State University’s Ed.D. in Community College Leadership Program. She served as Cohort Infinity’s (12) leader. Yolanda earned her M.A. in Sociological Practice and B.A. in Women’s Studies at California State University, San Marcos. Currently, Yolanda serves as the Executive Director of Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institution Educators (AHSIE) organization. AHSIE exists to support the work of the nation’s Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) as they seek to provide quality, relevant educational opportunities to growing numbers of underserved populations, particularly Hispanic/Latinx/a/o students.
Her passion for HSIs is infused in the work that she does in and outside of academic spaces. Her community advocacy and engagement as an advisor for the Imperial Valley LGBT Resource Center has been instrumental in bridging her commitment to scholarship and her comunidad. Yolanda’s involvement and commitment to equity, social justice, and diversity are heavily influenced by relationships she’s helped create and nurture throughout the years.
As a proud first-generation, queer, Latinx scholar and practitioner, Yolanda intends on using this scholarship as an incentive to give back to the students who will be participating in her study, but also as a way of “paying it forward.”
Dra. Melissa Abeyta
Melissa E. Abeyta, Ed.D. is a higher education researcher. Using an anti-deficit lens, her research explores the experiences of formerly incarcerated students in higher education and aims at identifying how administrators, faculty, and practitioners can academically and socially prepare these students in postsecondary education. Her research and assessment projects have included institutional needs assessments for disproportionately impacted students in community colleges. Dr. Abeyta was awarded the Ron Jacobs Outstanding Research Award for her dissertation, A Phenomenological Study of Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges. Her research has been recognized as a model of transformation and change. Dr. Abeyta is committed to serving traditionally underrepresented students in higher education through research and policy. She also serves as the inaugural chair for the NASPA Formerly Incarcerated Students & System Impacted Families Knowledge Community.
Dr. Abeyta is a 3x San Diego State University alumna earning an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, a M.A. in Postsecondary Educational Leadership specializing in Student Affairs, and B.A. in Communication and Chicana/o Studies. She is also a first generation transfer student who earned her A.A. degree from Southwestern College.
Dissertation Title: A Phenomenological Study of Formerly Incarcerated Latino Men in California Community Colleges
Dissertation Description: Her study explored the disparities that formerly incarcerated Latino male students encounter while attempting to achieve positive educational outcomes in community college, and to advocate for policies, programs, services that support students in successfully navigating the higher education pipeline.
Dr. Mireya Gutiérrez-Aguero
Dissertation Title: Perceived Experiences of Latino Male STEM Scholars
Dissertation Description: This study explored the experiences and perceptions of Latino men who initially attended a community college and graduated from a four-year university with a STEM degree in Southern California. Grounded in critical race and self-determination theories, findings revealed the importance of family, peers, institutional agents, support programs, and intrinsic motivation on student success.