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Alan Marines

Alan Marines is an NC State University graduate, having obtained 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 the education of Hispanic youth. He has helped organize and conduct an informational meeting that included presentations by Wake County and Mexican Consulate representatives. Throughout his years at NC State University, 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.

Interim Director

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. 

MaríaRosa Rangel

Board Chair

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Rodolfo Ruiz

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 on 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.


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 presentations to students regarding the intentional art of résumé writing skills, interviewing, and guides to gaining ideal employment.

Shelia Bennett

Member at Large

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Pamela Gales

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).


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

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 to being able to contribute to not only the Hispanic community but our society as a whole.

Jorge Pacheco 

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.

Luis Toledo

Member at Large

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Jaquelinne Murillo Figueroa

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 member. 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". This is why she has dedicated her personal and professional time to encourage education in the Latino community.


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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.

Jerome Robinson

Member at Large


Rosa Sorto Brown obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a Diversity Recruiting Specialist at PNC Bank, where she supports all diversity recruiting efforts at both student and professional levels. Rosa has lived in North Carolina since 2000 and currently resided in Cary. She is a first-generation college student of Salvadoran descent which has directly influenced her desire to play an active role in the Hispanic community’s success. She is an advocate of education to help drive change and opportunities. Outside of work, Rosa enjoys volunteering with organizations such as PNC’s Grow Up Great and World Relief Durham. She was a part of Hope For All Inc.’s board and was a mentor with EmpowHerment when she lived in Charlotte. She also enjoys spending time with her husband Hamilton and her 15-year-old daughter Joselyn.

Rosa Sorto Brown

Member at Large

Ricardo Ekmay

Ricardo Ekmay is the Senior Vice President of Product Development for Arbiom Inc., a Durham, North Carolina-based agricultural technology company. He also serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas. Prior to his time at Arbiom, Ricardo spent several years as a Research Scientist with Dow AgroSciences LLC. While at Dow, Ricardo also served as the communications chair of the Hispanic-Latin Network and was an active member of the science outreach team, Science Ambassadors. He is originally from Los Angeles, CA and is of Mexican and Colombian heritage. Ricardo received his BS in Animal Science from Cornell University, and his MS and PhD in Poultry Science from the University of Arkansas. Ricardo returned to Cornell for completion of his post-doctoral studies. He serves on various committees including the nutrition and aquaculture committees of the American Feed Industry Association, and the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee of the American Society of Animal Science. Ricardo values community outreach and the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, especially in the Hispanic-Latin community. He has been a member of NCSHP since 2017. In his spare time, Ricardo enjoys hiking and camping with his kids.

Member at Large

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Angel moved with his family to the U.S.A. from Mexico in 2005 when he was 2 years old. After that, his father was accepted to study for a Ph. D. program at the University of Florida, where Angel was exposed to a multicultural environment. Angel learned to appreciate the beauty of diversity. Angel and his family moved to Raleigh, NC, in 2012. There, he has attended public and private schools in Wake County. He is currently in the 11th grade at St. Thomas More Academy. In addition to the school activities, Angel seeks opportunities to help the Latino community. Angel knows the importance of having role models, and he looks forward to becoming a role model to Latino students. Like all teenagers, Angel enjoys spending time with his friends, playing sports, and the beach.

Angel Alfredo Perez Tavernier

High School Student Board Member

Diego Gonzalez
Diego Gonzalez

High School Student Board Member

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