2018 Latino Leaders

2018 Latino Leaders

Jason Alfaro

Jason Alfaro

Music Education Major

Jason Alfaro was born in Torrence, California and moved to Wichita in 2014. He graduated in 2018 from Wichita Southeast High School. He plays clarinet, violin and saxophone in the University Band, Chamber Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble respectively. He is also participating in the HALO and cNAfME student organizations. Jason hopes to use his time at Friends to further his education and benefit as well as develop his skills as a scholar and musician. He hopes that his time at the University will mold him into a responsible and intellectual member of society, and he looks forward to everything Friends has to offer.

Bellaly Escalante

Bellaly Escalante

Spanish Education & English Major

Bellaly Escalante is a graduate of Wichita High School South and is a current freshman at Friends University. Bellaly is a first-generation student who is double majoring in Theatre Education and Spanish. Her dream is to travel and teach along with being an interpreter. Bellaly’s biggest inspiration is her mom, who has supported and loved her through every step of this new journey. She is most looking forward to seeing where her education takes her and the journey it will provide!

Mira Martinez

Mira Martinez

Graphic Design & Spanish Major

Mira graduated from Wichita North High School and is now pursuing a degree in Graphic Design and Spanish. Some of her hobbies include drawing, singing and spending time with her family. Mira is excited to further her education and turn her passions into a career.

Julio Mendez

Julio C. Mendez

Zoo Science Major

Julio C. Mendez is from Chicago, Illinois and graduated from Von Steuben High School. He was born and raised on the Southwest side of the city and came to Wichita to attend Friends University. His mother was born in Chicago, Illinois while his father was born in Mexico City, (Mexico) and moved to Chicago at a young age. Julio is a part of the Zoo Science club and the animal care lab at Friends. Julio aims to open up his own zoo some day and wants to set an example for his younger siblings and friends that out of state college is a possibility for them. He has enjoyed getting to know his fellow Latino Leaders and is optimistic about the future ahead.

Vanessa Osorio

Vanessa Osorio

Spanish & English Education Major

Vanessa Osorio is the youngest of 5 siblings. She was born and raised in Los Angeles California and moved to Wichita when she was five years old. She graduated from Maize South High School wanting to become a pediatrician. However when she came to Friends University, she quickly learned that she was bad at science and decided to change her major to Spanish and English Education. Vanessa is involved with: First Year Mentors, Latino Leaders, Spanish Club, English Club, Hispanic American leadership Organization & last but not least Competitive Cheer. When she is not on campus you can either catch her putting outfits together at Maurices or on the sidelines at Heights High School coaching their Varsity and Junior Varsity Cheer teams. 

Vanessa Osorio

Elijah Reyes

Health Science Major

Elijah Reyes was born the eldest out of four to Roman & Carmen Reyes and graduated from Maize South High School. His hopes of going to Friends is to pursue the Pre-Med field and one day become an anesthesiologist or geneticist. Elijah has volunteered at Wesley Hospital and various other organizations and joined the Health Science Club in the hopes of learning as much of the medical field as he can. During his sophomore year of high school, Elijah was diagnosed with a genetic disorder but continues and strives for excellence in all walks of his life regardless of any setbacks he may come across.

Naomi Rivera

Naomi Rivera

Early Education Major & Graphic Design Minor

Naomi was born in Victorville, California and moved to Wichita when she was seven years old. She graduated from Wichita Southeast High School even though she completed her freshman and sophomore years at Wichita East then transferred to Wichita Southeast her junior year. She will be the first to complete a higher education degree in her family. Naomi commutes 15 minutes every day to and from school; she lives with her loving family that will provide for her until she completes college. Naomi is planning on graduating with a degree in early education and a minor in graphic design. Naomi works as a tutor at an elementary school nearby. Though she makes minimum wage, she loves what she does.

Brianna Ruiz

Brianna Ruiz

Zoo Science Major
Brianna graduated from Newton High School, and is a current sophomore at Friends University. Brianna’s dream career is to be a Zoo Keeper or Vet Assistant at a zoo. She hopes to work with Rhinos or hippos. She’s a first-generation college student. Her family is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and she has one younger sister. Her parents are the ones who really inspired her to go to college and pursue her dreams. Brianna is looking forward to continue her education at Friends University.


Professional Mentors

Shaun Rojas

Shaun Rojas

Director of Civic Engagement, Kansas Leadership Center
Mentor to Jason Alfaro

As the Director of Civic Engagement at the Kansas Leadership Center, Shaun is in charge of supporting and encouraging Kansas Leadership Center Alumni to host community conversations around the state on tough issues. Shaun earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in history from Wichita State University.

Sydney Rummery

Sydney Rummery

Spanish Teacher, Andover Central High School
Mentor to Bellaly Escalante

Sydney is a second-year educator and assistant cross country and track coach at Andover Central High School. She also serves as sponsor of the Kids For Kids program. In August of 2018 she received the district’s nomination for the KSDE Secondary Educator Horizon Award. As an undergraduate student at Friends University, she received the KSDE Teacher of Promise award. She graduated from Friends University in 2017, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish and Spanish Education. She loves cross-connecting Spanish and other content areas, focusing on student goals and college and career readiness, and helping students become better people for the future of our community.

Jennifer Whitney

Jennifer Whitney

Creative Director, Lifeboat Creative
Mentor to Mira Martinez

Jennifer has over 18 years of experience in design and marketing. A graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, she has been with Lifeboat Creative since 2007 where she designs and oversees the creative department’s work in branding, logo design, print, digital, web, creative writing and whatever else bubbles up. In a nutshell, Jennifer makes sure that everything makes sense, captures attention and looks pretty. Prior to that, she worked at two other ad agencies and produced, directed and wrote commercials for a Fox TV affiliate.

Dona Gibson

Dr. Dona Gibson

Director, Master of Education in Teaching and Learning and Master of Education in Special Education
Mentor to Naomi Rivera

Dr. Gibson graduated from Friends University with a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. Her masters is from Wichita State University and her doctorate from Kansas State University, both degrees in curriculum and instruction with emphasis in special education. Her public school teaching life includes five years as a first grade teacher and two years as a special educator. She has taught at Friends since 1981 in educational psychology, curriculum and special education, and directs the Master of Education in Teaching and Learning and the MEd in Special Education licensure programs.

Javier Villegas

Javier Villegas

Agent, First Family Insurance
Mentor to Julio Mendez
Javier Villegas came to the United States from Mexico in 2009 in search of the American dream. He received his Bachelors in Business Tourism at the Universidad de Leon in Mexico, and began working as an Insurance Agent in Wichita. As his business grew, he began to find opportunities to help others in the local Hispanic community the same way he had been helped by others. Through his involvement with the Hispanic Chamber, he has found more of the tools needed to help the businesses of his clients grow and succeed. Villegas relishes the chance to help others live out their own American dreams. “If you work hard and do things the right way, you can be successful here,” he says. “I’m living the American dream”.

Ellen Teran

Ellen Teran

Mentor to Vanessa Osorio

Ellen graduated from Friends University with a major in Elementary Education, minoring in Spanish. She taught Kindergarten in Kansas City, Kansas public school district for 4 years, and was named the district’s 5-star service award recipient in 2015. While in Kansas City she was an advocate for her students in the Rosedale community, and created an after school youth center at an impoverished apartment complex. She is married to fellow Latino Leaders Professional Mentor Paul Teran, and during their time in Dallas for his medical residency, she stayed home with their two young girls. Now back in Wichita, she has joined the staff at ICT SOS, a local non-profit organization fighting human trafficking in our community.

Paul Teran

Paul Teran

Pediatric Hospitalist
KU School of Medicine – Wichita / Wesley Children’s Hospital

Mentor to Elijah Reyes

Paul is a Pediatric Hospitalist in the Department of Pediatrics at KU School of Medicine – Wichita and Wesley Children’s Hospital. He is a proud graduate of Friends University, went to medical school at the University of Kansas in Kansas City and then completed his Pediatric Residency at the University of Texas – Southwestern / Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, TX. Throughout his medical training he led several medical outreach programs and was an active advocate for child health on the local, state and federal level. He has special interests in medical student and resident education, diversity in medicine, community programs and legislative advocacy. He is married to fellow Latino Leaders Professional Mentor Ellen Teran.

Michael Clifford

Michael Clifford

Curator of Innovation & Partnerships for GLMV Architecture; Lead Facilitator & Founder of Capacity Ministries
Mentor to Brianna Ruiz

Michael Clifford spent five years working as a zookeeper at AZA accredited institutions, a season as a game capture specialist in South Africa, and five years working for the Apprentice Institute at Friends University. Mike now works with over 150 zoos and aquariums monthly around North America to foster a conversation about the future of zoological conservation and impact. He helps design organizational change, create new exhibits, and works to improve the natural world.


Peer Mentors

Brandon Piña

Brandon Piña

Computer Science & Business Major, Junior
Mentor to Jason Alfaro

Brandon comes from Goddard High School. He enjoys building computers with his friends and hanging out with his two younger brothers. Brandon also is involved with the music program at Friends. He is in Guitar Ensemble, plays bass in Community Orchestra and sings baritone in Concert Choir. Brandon is expected to graduate in 2021 and wishes to do programming in the aerospace industry.

Kimberly Bustillos-Chacon

Kimberly Bustillos-Chacón

Psychology & Spanish Major, Senior
Mentor to Bellaly Escalante

Kim is a current Friends University student double majoring in Psychology and Spanish, finishing May of 2020. Her family is from Chihuahua, Mexico, and she has one older brother and a younger sister. She’s a first-generation college student wanting to become a great example for her family and to motivate her little sister. Her parents really inspired her to go to college and pursue her dreams, so she won’t have to struggle the way they did. Kim’s dream career is to be a Criminal Profiler. 

Dustin Le

Dustin Le

International Business & Christian Spiritual Formation Major, Junior
Mentor to Julio Mendez & Vanessa Osorio

Dustin Le graduated from Wichita South High School and has lived in Wichita, Kansas for about 10 years. He lives with his parents, sisters and cousin. Dustin’s mom is from Tecomán (Colima), Mexico and his dad came from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. Dustin is part of the men’s soccer team at Friends. Some of Dustin’s goals for the future are to retire his parents at a young age, so that he can give back to what his parents worked hard for. Dustin is looking forward to graduating with the five other Latino Leaders who started the program with him.

Ana Waren

Ana Waren

Spanish & Biology Major, Junior
Mentor to Elijah Reyes
Ana Waren has lived in Wichita Kansas for 19 years and attended Maize South High School. Ana enjoys playing soccer in her free time and is on the women’s soccer team at Friends University. Some of Ana’s goals at Friends are to meet new people and graduate with two majors. Ana lives with her parents, her little brother and her two dogs.

Nohemí Pineda

Nohemí Pineda

Criminal Justice & Spanish Major, Senior
Mentor to Naomi Rivera
Nohemí was born in Reseda, CA and moved to Wichita when she was eight years old. She graduated from Wichita East High School and is a first generation to graduate from high school and will be the first in her family to graduate from college as well. Nohemí commutes and lives with her family and is proud to be part of the Latino Leaders at Friends University. Nohemí works at a law firm and plans on graduating in May 2020.

Nohemí Pineda

Tanner Frey

Zoo Science and Spanish Major, Junior
Mentor to Brianna Ruiz

Tanner Frey is from Wichita, Kansas. He is a member of the Zoo Science Club as well as a HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization). Tanner’s passions include animal care and random trivia. After college, Tanner plans to become a zookeeper, and help with conservation efforts for endangered species around the world.


Academic Mentors

Jeremy Gallegos

Dr. Jeremy Gallegos

Professor of Philosophy and Ethics – Division Chair Christian & Liberal Studies; General Education Assessment Coordinator
Mentor to Jason Alfaro

Dr. Gallegos has been with Friends University for ten years, starting in 2008. For six of the ten years, he worked in the College of Adult and Professional studies, first as an assistant professor and then as Associate Dean for the College. Five years ago, Dr. Gallegos joined the faculty of the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education as a Division Chair and has been promoted to a tenured full professor over this period of time. He received his B.A. degree from Wichita State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Purdue University. Currently, Dr. Gallegos is active in his church, provides strategic planning and leadership facilitation for various local organizations, and sits as Vice-Chair of the Ethics Committee at Wesley Medical Center.

Janet Eubank

Janet Eubank

Assistant Professor of Teacher Education; Program Director for Elementary Education; and, Division Chair (Interim) for Teacher Education
Mentor to Bellaly Escalante & Naomi Rivera
Mrs. Janet Eubank joined the faculty of Friends University in 2005. Before coming to Friends, Mrs. Eubank was an elementary school classroom teacher for over 20 years; a teaching specialist for Reading/Language Arts for six years; and, curriculum director for seven years all in the Wichita Public Schools. Mrs. Eubank also volunteers for Teach for Life, a local organization providing teaching resources to teachers around the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Wichita State University, a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Friends University and an administrative endorsement from Newman University.

Karen Scroggins

Karen Scroggins

Assistant Professor Graphic Arts & Director of Visual Arts Program
Mentor to Mira Martinez

Karen Renee Scroggins is the Director of Visual Arts program (2015) and Assistant Professor of Graphic Arts (2000) at Friends University, Wichita, KS. Scroggins’ professional career includes 30 years working as a designer, four years in a corporate setting, eight years at an education institution and 18 years teaching at Friends University. Scroggins teaches graphic design through all four years of development—from beginner to pre-professional, including guiding students through internships, portfolio and capstone courses for advanced students in the visual arts program at Friends University. Scroggins has had the opportunity to travel abroad with students and colleagues to Paris, London, Cancun and Cuba. In the summer of 2018 Scroggins worked for the Chickasaw Nation Arts Academy teaching graphic design. Professional organizations that Scroggins has been involved in the past and presently include American Institute of Graphic Arts, University and College Designers Association, Kansas Associated Collegiate Press and National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. When Scroggins was active in NCMPR she received awards on her design work and publications.
Scroggins will have a solo exhibit at Friends University March 2019 “Untold Stories”. Her work was selected to be shown in the Wichita National All Media Exhibition in 2017. Scroggins actively exhibits in shows; in 2017 she had a solo exhibit at City Arts “Inspirations”. Scroggins donates artwork to various nonprofit fundraisers. She has Friends University graphic design and visual communication students work on nonprofit organizations design projects in order to give back to the Wichita community.
Education:
BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS / GRAPHIC DESIGN Phillips University; MASTER OF SCIENCE IN EDUCATION / ADULT EDUCATION Newman University

Patrick Matthews

Dr. Patrick Mathews

Professor of Biology & Program Director of Zoo Science
Mentor to Julio Mendez and Brianna Ruiz
Dr. Mathews has been a member of the faculty at Friends University since 2003. His prior faculty experience includes two years at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and three years at Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri. He received his bachelor’s and masters’ degrees at Truman State University, and his PhD at the University of Arkansas. Though broadly trained in all aspects of biological sciences, Dr. Mathews completed his doctoral research on the predator/prey relationships between wasps and beetles, and is the university’s resident expert on all things creepy-crawly.

Preston Todd

Dr. Preston Todd

Assistant Dean in the College of Business, Arts, Science, & Education
Mentor to Elijah Reyes

Dr. Todd has served at Friends University since 2007. Dr. Todd helps lead the college’s initiatives for retention and completion. His goal is to provide an engaging campus environment to promote learning and overall student success. Having worked in Student Affairs, Enrollment Management, and Academic Affairs, Dr. Todd works to promote an integrated student experience from admissions through graduation. Additionally, Dr. Todd serves as the study abroad coordinator for students pursuing an off-campus semester experience. Dr. Todd has written and presented multiple times through the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE).