2016 Academy Class
Barbara R. Barreno-Paschall is an attorney and a Master of Public Policy student at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. She is a recipient of the Irving B. Harris Fellowship and serves on the Diversity Inclusion and Advisory Board. Barbara serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Students for Criminal Justice Reform organization, an organization she co-founded.
Prior to attending Chicago Harris, Barbara practiced employment law in the Chicago office of Sidley Austin LLP. At Sidley, Barbara was twice recognized by the firm for her work on behalf of immigrants seeking asylum when she received the Thomas H. Morsch Award for outstanding pro bono service. She also served on the Chicago office Associate Diversity Council.
Barbara is a native of Covina, California. She graduated from Harvard College with honors in 2007 and from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2011. While in law school, Barbara served as Executive Editor of the Vanderbilt Law Review and as Chair of the National Latina/o Law Student Association.
Montserrat Garibay, is a National Board Certified Teacher and the Vice President for Certified Employees with Education Austin, the union representing over 3,000 employees in the Austin Independent School District (AISD). Previously, she taught bilingual Pre-K for eight years in AISD.
Montserrat is a member At-Large with the Democratic National Committee and a member of AVANCE’s National Board of Directors. On March 2016, she was inducted to the City of Austin’s Women’s Hall of Fame for breaking barriers for women and girls.
Montserrat came to the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. After 20 years in the U.S. she became a U.S. Citizen in 2012. A byproduct of public schools in Texas, Montserrat received her undergraduate degree and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin.
Justin Henry is corporate counsel at DentalOne Partners, Inc. He previously worked as an attorney at NTE Mobility Partners LLC, Alston & Bird LLP and Vinson & Elkins LLP.
Justin currently serves on the DISD District 9 Task Force as the chairperson, the Southwest Region Advisory Committee for the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the board of Jewish Family Services-Dallas. He was a member of 2013 Leadership ISD class and the 2014-2015 class of the Mayor’s Star Council. He has served the community as an appointee on the DISD Citizen Budget Review Commission.
Justin a native of Arlington, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, a Master of Arts in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University and a Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law.
Christopher Kelly works for the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services where he works with administration to oversee and manage 245 staff members in the Child, Adult, & Family Services Division. He has worked in the areas of civic/community engagement, public relations, and political affairs.
Christopher grew up in Prince George’s County where he graduated from Surrattsville High School. He attended Towson University where he studied sociology and criminal justice. After graduating from Towson, he was appointed by the Mayor of Baltimore to be the Latino Liaison.
Christopher a Maryland native the son of immigrants. His mother is from Escuintla, Guatemala and his father is from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
Tanya Makany-Rivera currently serves as the External Affairs Manager of the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity. She previously worked at Houston City Council in the District H Offices of Adrian Garcia and Ed Gonzalez where she served as Chief of Staff. Additionally, she staffed the Houston City Council Public Safety Committee.
Tanya left Houston City Council to become the Assistant Director of Public Policy for CHILDREN AT RISK, a nonprofit organization that drives change for children through research, education, and influencing public policy. She was the lead author and researcher on Juvenile Mental Health Courts where she visited courts throughout the state of Texas and interviewed Judges, staff clinicians, probation officers, court managers, service providers, and youth interacting with the juvenile justice system who also suffered from mental illness.
Tanya is a Houston native and earned both her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and M.B.A. from the University of Houston.
Norma Torres Mendoza is a recent graduate from the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) of Government where she concentrated in Politics, Democracy, and Institutions. In addition to serving as the Director of External and Alumni Affairs for the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, she served as the co-coordinator for the HKS Public Policy and Leadership Conference, Co-Programs Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Democratic Caucus, and as the Presidenta of the Harvard Latino Student Alliance.
Prior to HKS, Norma worked for Deloitte Consulting LLP, where she was a Human Capital Analyst. She co-founded the Young Owls Leadership Program (YOLP), a non- profit whose mission is to prepare rising high school students as both leaders in their communities and competitive applicants to top-tier colleges and universities.
Norma was born in Mexico and grew up in Houston Texas. In her free time, she mentors first generation college students, and is a pro bono consultant for non-profits on Latino initiatives.
Jeamy Molina is the Communications Manager at Oncor, the largest electric transmission and distribution business in Texas. She frequently acts as a company spokeswoman in critical and sensitive matters.
Jeamy is a member of various organizations in the Dallas area including The Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; she’s a Board Member of the Dallas Latino Cultural Center and a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
In 2012, Jeamy was named one of the PR News People to Watch “Rising Stars of PR.” She has a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications from The University of Texas in Austin. She was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Sasha Monik Moreno works for The Integer Group where she focuses on digital marketing for FedEx Services. She is also currently a career and education blogger for Vivala, a website dedicated to empowering millennial Latinas. Previously, she worked for Dieste, Inc. and Richards Lerma, two Hispanic advertising agencies in Dallas, where she focused on TV, direct mail, digital, and social media geared towards the U.S. Hispanic audience. Prior to this, she practiced law in Los Angeles for almost three years before returning to Texas.
Sasha is an active member in her community as the current Dallas Chapter President of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Alumni Association and was recently selected to the 2016-2017 Dallas Mayor’s Star Council.
Sasha is an El Paso native and an alumna from the University of North Texas and Pepperdine School of Law.
Eric Puente is a native of Dallas, TX. Eric is licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Texas and is admitted to The United States District Court, Northern District of Texas. He is a partner at the law firm of Puente & Hindieh, PLLC. Eric proudly served his country during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After honorable discharge from active duty he transitioned to the U.S. Navy Reserve.
In 2004, Mr. Puente earned an AA Degree from Richland College. He graduated from University of North Texas Cum Laude in 2007 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice, and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. In 2011, he earned his Juris Doctor from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Texas School of Law where he earned a Master of Laws, LL.M.
Mr. Puente currently serves as a board member of the Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association, and is the current President of the Mexican American Bar Association of Dallas.
Dominique Torres became a licensed attorney in 2015 and currently runs her own practice- The Torres Law Office,P.C. in Mesquite, Texas where she handles personal injury, immigration and family law. She also volunteer through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program Legal Clinics.
Dominique is involved with organizations like the NAACP, North Texas Young Latino Leaders, Dallas League of Women Voters, Junior League of Dallas and Next Generation Action Network.
Dominique grew up in Dallas and graduated from Skyline High School. She enrolled in Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas and transferred to the University of North Texas where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science
Jose Olivares Valerio is the Director of Programming and Lead College Advisor for the Academic Success Program Dallas where he helps students enroll in college.
As a college admissions professional, Jose has advocated on behalf of students in Dallas at the Texas and National Association for College Admission Counseling conferences. He has also been invited to programs at colleges including the University of Chicago, Cooper Union, and New York University-Abu Dhabi aimed at building relationships to recruit talented students from our community in greater numbers.
Jose received a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature and a Certificate in Creative Writing from Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. He serves as an Alumni Interviewer for the Princeton Alumni Schools Committee and as Social Chair for the Princeton Club of Dallas-Fort Worth.
Gabriela Vega is an attorney with the Equal Justice Center, a non-profit law firm dedicated to enforcing the employment rights of low-wage workers, regardless of immigration status. She is currently leading a new legal services project focused on combating workplace sexual violence and its adverse effects on survivors’ economic independence.
Prior to joining the Equal Justice Center, Gabriela worked as a litigation associate with the international law firm Baker Botts L.L.P. in Houston and Dallas, Texas. Additionally, she has served as a federal judicial clerk in Brownsville, Texas.
Born in Nicaragua, Gabriela immigrated to the United States as a young child. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, Spanish and French from the Ohio State University. She earned her law degree from Harvard Law School, where she was a student in the Harvard Immigration Clinic and served as Co-President of the Harvard Immigration Project.
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