Board of Directors
Elda E. McGrath
Elda E. McGrath is originally from Panama. She is currently an ESL Teacher at Northwoods Elementary School. Elda holds a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She became passionate about the NCSHP mission because she works with students whose first language is not English and struggles to achieve. She believes in working together as a community of care and a community that shares the concern about the success of all students. She has been part of the NCSHP for over four years now, and she believes that the Society has made a great difference in the lives of Hispanic students through both its scholarships and its conferences. In her opinion, these contributions have helped to motivate many Hispanic students to succeed. The North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals has created a vision for Elda. She now can see our Hispanic youth standing in a place of success, making a difference in our society, and contributing to the future of our country.
MaríaRosa Rangel obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual/Bicultural and Elementary Education from the Northeastern University of Chicago, Master’s Degree in School Administration and Doctoral Degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from North Carolina State University. She has served as a third grade Bilingual teacher, a GED instructor, Spanish/ESL Teacher, an Assistant Principal, a district-wide LEP/Dual Language Coordinator, Hispanic/Latino Family Outreach Senior Administrator, Senior Administrator for LEP Family Outreach Services and presently Senior Administrator for Family and Community Engagement in the Wake County Public School System.
Mr. Rodolfo Ruiz graduated as a Computer Engineer from the Autonomous University of Guadalajara. Originally from Monterrey, NL, he grew up in Mexico City, Querétaro and Guadalajara. He began his career as a software developer at IBM Guadalajara and has worked as a designer and architect of software solutions. He has had the opportunity to be in two international assignments. The first for 2 years in IBM Raleigh, North Carolina from 1995-1997, as the head of the software development team. In 2005, as part of the sale of the PC Division, it became part of Lenovo. From 2007 to 2010, he was transferred to Shenzhen China, with the mission of opening a software development laboratory, which now has more than 350 engineers. In 2018 he returned to work at IBM in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rodolfo believes that education is the key to a better life and future. He would like to help our Latino students acquire post-secondary education and be able to live the American Dream. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife Adriana and their three children.
Member at Large
Shelia Bennett works in Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) as a Senior Administrator, HR Recruitment and Retention. Primarily, her work involves the knowledge and support of approximately 1,600 beginning teachers within the district. Also, Ms. Bennett recruits certified and lateral entry teachers at local and out-of-state career fairs. This passion to help others fuels her drive to assist anyone in her path toward their dream goals. Ms. Bennett possesses a number of years as an experienced Human Resources professional. Her areas of expertise include all facets of recruitment and retention, employee relations, compensation and benefits, safety, etc. She enjoys doing presentation to students regarding the intentional art of résumé writing skills, interviewing and guides to gaining ideal employment.
Pamela has spent over 20 years of her career in Local and State government. First with Durham County, and now with Wake County Public School System. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from American Intercontinental University. She is a Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer (CLGPO), and an Executive Certified Master Compliance Administrator (ECMCA). Pamela is President of the North Carolina MWBE Coordinators’ Network (NCCN), a member of the American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA), the Carolinas/Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (CVMSDC), Carolina Association of Government Purchasing (CAGP), and the National Notary Association. Pamela has spent countless hours at small business fairs and expos and supports other partner agencies with her energy and commitment to the mission of educating, supporting, and assisting the M/WBE community. Pamela served as Secretary for the North Carolina M/WBE Coordinators’ Network for three years and she also served as a Board Member, and Programming Committee Chair for the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce (GDBCC).
Member at Large
April Gonzalez will be a rising junior (Class 2021) in the College of Engineering at NC State University with a major in Chemical Engineering. April is of Mexican descent and has lived in North Carolina for most of her life. She is an Academic Officer for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers – NC State Chapter, and a Scholar of the American Chemical Society. April is also a recipient of the NC Hispanic Scholarship Fund - Duke Energy Engineering Scholarship. April has worked with high school students in various outreach programs to encourage them to pursue careers in STEM. Also, April has more than three years of experience working and tutoring middle and high school students to encourage them to pursue a college education. April’s objective is to build inventions for competitions, work on project for the community and volunteering for a cause. April is very enthusiastic about representing and promoting the vision of the NCSHP. She strongly believes that bringing educational opportunities and resources to Hispanic students will encourage them to envision a better future for themselves.
Member at Large
Alan Marines is a junior at NC State University in the process of obtaining his Bachelor of Science in Science, Technology, and Society with a concentration in Statistics. He is currently working on a thesis on certain statistics that deal with immigration, and an important part of that research involves the education of Hispanics. Alan Marines is of Mexican descent and has lived in North Carolina for his entire life. He has been involved in many events that promote the growth and aiding of education of the Hispanic youth. Last Spring, he helped organize and conduct an informational meeting that included presentations by Wake County and Mexican Consulate representatives. Throughout his three years at NC State, he has met with multiple Hispanic high schoolers to provide academic and financial information, as well as tours of the university for students to get an idea of what college life is like. His objective is to inspire Latino students to continue their studies. Alan Marines is always trying to find new opportunities to encourage students to continue on with their education.
Marco A. Zárate is the Co-Founder and former President of the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. He was born in Mexico and has lived in North Carolina since 1990. Mr. Zárate has two children, Christian and Carolina. His wife Susan is an ESL teacher in Wake County Public Schools. He was raised believing in education as a means to succeed in life.
Marco A. Zárate
Co-Founder & Board Member at Large
Member at Large
Jorge Pacheco is a Teacher at Fuquay-Varina High School of Wake County Public School System. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Technology, Design and Engineering Education with a minor in Graphic Communications from North Carolina State University (NC State) in Raleigh, NC. He was the president of “Mi Familia”, a Hispanic student organization at NC State University. Also, Jorge was a College Student Board member for the NC Society of Hispanic Professionals from 2014 to 2016. Jorge has been a member of the Hispanic Educational Summit planning committee since 2015. He was born in McMinnville, Oregon and was raised in Graham, NC attending school in the Alamance-Burlington School system in Alamance County. Jorge believes that education and hard work are the fundamental keys for being able to contribute to not only the Hispanic community but our society as a whole.
Member at Large
Ms. Luisa Scott is a young Hispanic professional who was born in Tucson, AZ, and raised in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. She obtained her Bachelor of Social and Behavioral Science in Communication and Spanish Literature from The University of Arizona. Luisa is passionate about helping others; she has been working for the nonprofit sector since 2011. Luisa understands the needs of the community and is very involved with different organizations. Luisa serves as a board member of the Red Global of Mexicans – Raleigh Chapter; she also serves as a board member of Young Professionals – Raleigh Chapter with Make-A-Wish®. Luisa is a member of the NCSHP and has been a member of the scholarship selection committee, and supported NCSHP translation services.
Member at Large
Luis obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University. Luis serves as an Assistant State Auditor in the IS Division of the North Carolina Office of the State Auditor. He has worked on a variety of audits pertaining to several state agencies including DHHS, the Departments of Commerce & Transportation, the Office of Information Technology Services, and State universities. Luis was the auditor-in-charge for the NCTracks – Medicaid Billing System – pre-implementation IT audit, which covered the most expensive contract in state history. Prior to joining the Office of the State Auditor, Luis worked at the U.S. Department of State as a foreign affairs officer. He has served in the U.S. military and is a former Presidential Fellow. Recently, Luis was the chair of the NCSHP’s 2015 Educational Summit planning committee.
Member at Large
Rocío Anderson holds degrees in Physics, Mathematics and Business Administration. She currently resides in Apex, NC with her husband, Shawn and their two sons Fabrizio and Carmines. Rocío Anderson is the Director of Health Education for Maternal Child Health and NICU Innovation for March of Dimes. She leads the NC Preconception Health Campaign by directing the statewide initiative aimed at improving individuals’ health before, during and after pregnancy as well as their birth outcomes. One of Rocío’s personal and professional passions is women’s health and ensuring that services are tailored with a life course perspective as opposed to episodic or acute. Rocío is an active leader in the NC Perinatal Strategic Plan (PSP) Workgroup, the NC Preconception Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Networks (CoIIN) Leader-ship Teas. Rocío’s professional accomplishments are pronounced by more than 17 years of experience as a consultant in the fields of Health Care and Education, Public Health and Public Safety. Rocío has held many volunteer positions working with and for the Latinx community in North Carolina.
Member at Large
Hazel was born in the Philippines but spent most of her life in New Mexico, which holds the biggest Latino and Hispanic population among the 50 states. She felt the greatest sense of community with her Latinx friends and classmates while living in the Southwest, and this has remained the same even after relocating to North Carolina in 2013. In addition to her loyalty to the Latinx community, Hazel is passionate about helping young people find opportunities for education. As a single mother of two girls, she witnessed firsthand how education afforded her daughters numerous opportunities that she wouldn’t have been able to provide on her own. These included attending college debt-free, participating in study-abroad programs, and summer research opportunities. Hazel knows how many scholarships can enhance the experiences and lives of young people. However, she recognizes how difficult it can be to navigate the educational system to find financial support in the first place. Hazel is drawn to NCSHP because she believes it’s a wonderful program where she can continue to help young students and families acquire the financial support, they need to fulfill their goals and dreams.
Jaquelinne Murillo Figueroa
Member at Large
Jaquelinne was born and raised in Guanajuato, Mexico. At 10 years old, she moved to the United States. She lived in North Carolina for all her primary educational years. She graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor's in International Studies with a concentration on Latin America and minors in French and Anthropology in 2014, as a first-generation graduate. After that, Jaquelinne served as a Teach for America corps members. She taught bilingual 5th grade in Harlingen, Texas. In 2016, she came back to North Carolina for Law school. She graduated from Campbell University School of Law in 2019 and passed the North Carolina Bar Exam that same summer. Jaquelinne is currently a practicing immigration attorney. She has worked in the private sector representing non-detained, in various states, and detained individuals at Stewart Detention Center, in removal proceedings. Currently, she is working with the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants representing unaccompanied minors in removal proceedings. Jaquelinne strongly believes that "education is the key to success". Which is why she has dedicated her personal and professional time to encourage education inthe Latino community.
Member at Large
Jerome is a servant leader, having taught special education for the Wake County Public School System. Mr. Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Appalachian State University, a master’s degree in Reading/ Special Education and a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University. A role model dedicated to the success of children, Mr. Robinson’s vision is to promote, motivate, and inspire change. Mr. Robinson was the Beginning Teacher Mentor Coordinator at Northwoods Elementary School, helping teachers during their first 3 years of teaching. Aside from an educator, Mr. Robinson is devoted to being a foster parent to a 14 year-old child, while making an impact on children in need of a loving home. Mr. Robinson is a passionate educator, willing to go above and beyond to ensure the success of all students. When Mr. Robinson is not working, he enjoys traveling around the world, reading, and spending time with family and friends.