Burton Rojas Director of Graduate and Professional Services
Jose Enriquez, Ph.D Founder Chief Executive Officer
Richard Thomas Chief Academic Officer (CAO)
Ramiro Ceja Regional Program Manager, Northern
Ivan Cardenas Regional Program Manager, Central
Caryn Martinez Central Florida Regional Program Manager
Kayla Nielsen Social Media Marketing Manager
Monica Budge Senior Administrative Assistant
Jhonatan Castillo (Alumni) Full-Stack Developer/Designer
Founder Chief Executive Officer
Jose is an immigrant that was born in El Salvador and grew up in East L.A. He attributes much of his success to his hard working mother who sacrificed everything to give him and his siblings a better life. He graduated from John Glenn H.S. in L.A. with a full ride scholarship to wrestle at Brigham Young University where he obtained 3 degrees: BA in Secondary Education Spanish, Masters in Educational Leadership, and a PhD in Educational Leadership. His previous positions include; Director of Title III and Special Programs at the Utah State Office of Education, Director of Diversity for Alpine School District, served 11 years in both Alpine and Provo school districts as an Assistant Principal, and taught Spanish for 3 years prior to that.
He was appointed as a commissioner on volunteerism by Lieutenant Governor Bell’s Utah Commission on Volunteers in 2010, and as a commissioner to the office Multicultural Affairs by Governor Herbert, 2012. Currently, Jose is living his dream as the full time Executive Director of Latinos in Action (LIA), a non-profit he built from the ground up since 2001, and which officially became a non-profit organization in 2010. LIA is currently implemented in 110 schools across Utah, Idaho, Washington, Texas, and Florida. LIA’s mission is to empower Latino youth to be college and career ready through culture, service, leadership, and excellence in education. Most recently, LIA was honored as a Bright Spot by the White House Center for Excellence in Hispanic Education. Jose is married to Jaymilyn Bonnett Enriquez and is the father of 5 children; 4 girls and one boy.
Chief Academic Officer
Britney received a World Languages Master of Arts from the University of Utah and her BS in English and Spanish Education from Brigham Young University. She comes to LIA from The Mentoring Center of Central Ohio, where she served as the Training and Education Coordinator. Prior to this, she taught English at the junior high and high school levels for six years. During the last three of those years, Britney started the Latinos in Action program at Cottonwood High School. In just two years, the program grew from zero to 120 students and she witnessed firsthand the power of LIA to help students become leaders. Education and service are Britney’s top passions around which she centers her life. She has worked with the Mexican government to help adults in rural villages obtain GEDs, has volunteered as a tutor with Project Read, and is currently a mentor with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Britney grew up in Westerville, Ohio and is an avid Buckeyes fan but has grow to love Utah, especially its outdoors. She enjoys speaking Spanish, reading, biking, hiking, and being an aunt.
Director of Graduate and Professional Services
Burton was born and raised in the great San Joaquin Valley in the town of Turlock, California. He is the tenth of eleven children and the youngest of 5 boys. He graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU) with a degree in Secondary Education and earned his JD from Pepperdine University School of Law. At BYU Burton was a member of a group that performed Latin American, Native American, and Polynesian songs and dances. He organized two youth conferences and worked as the head counselor with the Discovery Program for incoming freshmen, later serving as mentor to those students. He worked at the Multicultural Financial Aid office and in his last year was chosen to be Cosmo, the University mascot. At the end of his time as a student Burton was awarded the prestigious Brigham Award at Brigham Young University. After graduating from BYU Burton worked for American Indian Services and worked as a probation office in the Utah 4th District Juvenile Court.
While at Pepperdine Burton studied in London where he worked on the Ali G show for broadcast on HBO, serving as the London Program Student Director upon his return. After graduating from law school Burton returned to Pepperdine University where he served as the Coordinator of Diversity, Recruitment, and Student Services. During this time he also served as a trainer for law school recruiters and continued his work with traditionally underrepresented populations as a speaker, presenter, and mentor for high school, college, and law students.
Prior to returning to Utah in 2015 to work as an immigration attorney Burton worked for three and a half years as Executive Assistant to producer/director/writer/actor Rob Reiner. He has also continues to work for Apple, Inc. where he has a tenure of over 12 years.
Director of Eastern Region
Eileen Torraca received a Bachelor of Arts from National University, in San Diego, California and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from NOVA Southeastern University. She is currently teaching Advanced Placement Spanish Language and Culture and Advanced Placement Spanish Literature and Culture at West Broward High School, in Pembroke Pines Florida. She is also the Chair Person of the World Languages Department, the ESOL Contact, and the former founder Sponsor for the Model United Nations Club. A strong advocate of hands-on, project based learning, her professional interests focus on communicative approaches to teaching a second language, thematic execution, and enhancing cultural background knowledge, cooperative learning, and enhancing student’s ability to learn how to collaborate with others by strengthening common goals, increasing their opportunities to become more marketable in this global economy. Throughout the past 24 years, of her career, she has demonstrated a great sense of commitment and dedication to teaching, encouraging many students to seek their dreams and to embrace the challenges that life places on their path to catapult them to a brighter tomorrow.
She has created successful school programs that leads her National Spanish Honor Society students to be active and productive members in their community by giving of their time and resources to help those less fortunate such as The Children’s Harbor House, a children’s orphanage. Holding special events for the Exceptional Bobcats, during Valentines Day (we make cards together for the students to give them to their parents) and also, to be part of the tutoring program affording them the opportunity to use their acquire knowledge and skills of a second language to help others. As the original National Spanish Honor Society Chapter founder, of Jaime Escalante she has sponsored the 8th Annual, and very successful Cultural Hispanic Festival. The society celebrates ethnicity, infuses cultural values and enhances a sense of belonging for every student as they come together every year to bring a Hispanic Festival to the West Broward family with authentic foods, music, arts and crafts.
Eileen was born in Brooklyn New York, raised in Puerto Rico, where she met her husband and together they have three children and a grandson. It was during those early school years that she met Mrs. Jacome, her Kindergarten teacher and whose great big smile and warmth served as her inspiration to decide at such and early age of six years old to become a teacher.
Eileen is a consummate professional of unquestionable talent whose enthusiasm toward teaching is unequivocally contagious. An exemplary model of commitment, dedication perseverance, and love for teaching and community. She is open-minded and sees capabilities in every student and has the resolve to challenge them to their full potential.
Regional Program Manager, Northern
Ramiro has been working in the educational sphere for 13 years, during that time he has held many different management and instructional positions. His experience ranges from working with students from kindergarten to college age level. Growing up in a small farming community in Rupert, Idaho. Ramiro witness firsthand the essential need that Latino students desperately looked-for and wanted to be successful. Throughout his professional career Ramiro has had a deep passion for helping the Latino Community and most of his specialized roles have been associated with helping the Latino youth. As Program Assistant of Dream Academy Ramiro help children of incarcerated parents see the importance of a higher education and help implement tools they could use to teach them how to reach their future dreams. Ramiro is finishing a Masters of Arts in Education from University of Phoenix and received a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science with an emphases in Psychology. Ramiro is married to Elena Ceja and together they enjoy the outdoors, movie nights, and their two energetic dogs.
Regional Program Manager, Southernn
Bio coming soon.
Special Events Coordinator
Valeria was born in San Antonio, Texas and no matter how many times she has moved away, she will always consider Texas to be “home.” From early childhood she was taught by her parents, both activists in the Chicano Movement, to be proud of her Mexican heritage, to celebrate her biculturalism, and to always give back to her “gente”.
Valeria has held several positions throughout the years that have helped her develop her strong work ethic, her knack for organization, and her professionalism. Those positions include being a Civilian Recruiter for the United States Army, working for the Director of Professional Development at Tyler ISD and most recently comes to us from Washington County School District. She is currently back at school after a long hiatus of working and raising her two children. She studies at Southern Utah University and will soon receive her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Education. Her favorite hobbies include watching football, basketball, reading and traveling.
Senior Administrative Assistant
Monica immigrated to the United States from Mexico with her family when she was 10 years old, making Texas, California and Utah her home at different times of her life.
She has always been passionate about working with children and teens, and has done so for the past 26 years (in addition to raising her own 5 children).
She has coached beginner and competitive gymnastics (20 years) and worked at Alpine School District for 10 years, helping teens succeed in Junior High and High School.
She has completed 2 years of undergraduate work at Utah Valley University, and plans on completing a 4-year degree in Accounting.
She has 5 children and 6 grandchildren, all of whom live only a few minutes away and are the biggest blessings in her life.
Hi, I’m Jhonatan, a web and graphic designer with 5 plus years of experience based in Utah. I have developed a deep love and appreciation for my culture, which is my number one inspiration. My passion and enthusiasm for my work allows me to create quality eye catching designs as well as clean and well written code. If you can imagine it, I can bring it to life.
I like to always challenge myself and stay on top of different trends and markets thus I choose a variety of areas to work on, the crossover between design and programming has always been of interest to me I hae been lucky enough to work alongside some talented teams on a number of high profile websites.
Latinos In Action
Bio Coming Soon.
Social Marketing Manager
Richard comes to Latinos in Action from Provo and Alpine School Districts where he taught for eight years at the high school and junior high levels. He received his BA in History Teaching from Brigham Young University, a Master’s of Education degree from Southern Utah University in 2014, and is currently a student at Arizona State University pursuing a doctorate of education. His research focuses on developing culturally responsive teaching practices to help support the behavioral and academic performance of Latinos in schools. In addition to being an educator, Richard has coached football and basketball, loves to travel, explore the outdoors, and enjoys showing off his animal collection. He and his wife Whitney are the proud parents of three children, Cruz, Reese, and Ty.
Eliana Cabrera is a Creative, Project and Event Coordinator who partners with CEOs, executives, artists and entrepreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands through organizing amazing events. After spending almost two years coordinating PR Events, Product Launches, Photoshoots and Marketing Campaigns for multimillion dollar brands and startups in New York, she is more excited than ever to bring her experience back to Latinos in Action as a proud alumni of the organization.
Besides Event Coordinating, Eliana is passionate about fashion, music and most of all her little Pug named Murphy.
Regional Program Manager, Central
Ivan was born in L.A. and lived there until the age of ten. Then moved with his mom to Mérida Yucatán, México where he grew up, he came back to the USA at the age of 20, and has been here ever since. Not only is he proud to be Mexicano but he is also proud of being Yucateco with a strong connection to his bella cultura maya. Ivan earned an Associates Degree in Networking Technology from Stevens Henager College in 2004. After being around Latinos In Action for 6 years he decided to go back to school. Ivan recently earned a University Studies Degree and a Bachelors of Arts Degree majoring in Spanish from Utah Valley University. Ivan is also a Martial Arts karateca and is a member of the United States Martial Arts Team. He has competed in the World Martial Arts Games in Canada in 2014, South Africa in 2016, bringing home 3 bronze medals, 1 silver, and 1 bronze respectively. He is also due to compete again in the Fall of 2019 at the World Games in New Delhi, India. Ivan is also a huge Transformers fan. He has a collection of over 150 transformers figures.
Florida Regional Program Manager
A product of New York City public schools, Caryn studied Elementary Education and English Language Arts at Hunter College of the City University of New York. After graduating, she followed her dream of giving back to her community by becoming a public school educator in Brooklyn. She continued her teaching career after relocating to Florida. Born to a mother from Puerto Rico and a father from the Dominican Republic, Caryn used her experiences as a bicultural, bilingual Latina in her efforts to reach and encourage today’s youth within the classroom. In 2016, she was recognized by the Florida Department of Education as one of the highest impact teachers in the state, acknowledging that her consistent effect on student growth and learning was among the most statistically-significantly positive in all of Florida. In her Letter of Recognition, Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart, wrote, “Whether in a classroom where students arrived already high achieving, or a classroom in which students were underperforming, her efforts provided inspiration and opportunities to young people that would have otherwise been inaccessible.” Ms. Martinez’s career in education spans over sixteen years, where she prepared students for college, career and life at the elementary, middle school, and high school level. She has also supported fellow teachers as a trainer, lead teacher, and/or mentor for almost as long.
Her current interests include reading, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family. She currently resides in Orlando and can be found enjoying life with her husband and son.