Latino Leaders Mentors

Latino Leaders Class of 2021

Kimberly Bustillos-Chacon

Kimberly Bustillos-Chacón

Psychology & Spanish Major

Kim is a sophomore at Friends University currently double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. Kim’s dream career is to be a forensic psychologist. 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 especially her little sister. Her parents are the ones who really inspired her to go to college and pursue her dreams, so she won’t have to struggle the way they did.


Allison Franco

Allison Franco

Zoo Science & Field Biology Major, Spanish & Graphic Design Minor

Allison Franco was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and moved to the United States when she was nine years old. She graduated in 2017 from Maize High School. Allison’s biggest goal in life is to co-own a conservation center to rehabilitate marine and wildlife animals with her sister. In her free time, you can find Allison walking her three dogs, going on adventures with her parents and two older sisters, cheering for Friends University, hanging out with friends, or dreaming about her next vacation to Disney World. Allison is excited to create a positive change and bring awareness with her fellow Latino Leaders to the Hispanic community.


Dustin Le

Dustin Le

International Business & Christian Spiritual Formation Major

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.


Brandon Piña

Brandon Piña

Computer Science & Business Major

Brandon Piña comes to Friends from Goddard High School. He has been playing guitar for 10 years and bass for six years. He lives with his parents and three brothers. In his free time, Brandon enjoys hanging out with his friends and playing music together.


Nohemí Pineda

Nohemí Pineda

Criminal Justice & Spanish Major

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 as a Sales Associate at Dillard’s.


Ana Waren

Ana Waren

Spanish & Biology Major

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.


Professional Mentors

Brittany Waldman

Brittany Waldman

Strategic Communications Manager, Fundamental Learning Center
Mentor to Kimberly Bustillos-Chacón

Brittany was born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas and played softball at Friends University where she majored in psychology and sociology and minored in criminal justice. She has her master’s degree in sociology from Wichita State University. Brittany serves as the Communications Manager where she serves as a liaison for parents, students, therapistsl, and community partners for the Fundamental Learning Center, a school suited for the needs of over 45 children with dyslexia. She is a current board member of CASA Tri-County that advocates for abused and neglected children in Kansas. Brittany also volunteers with Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters, The Pass It On Outdoor Mentors Group, and League 42.


Yolanda Camarena

Yolanda Camarena

Executive Director, Kansas Hispanic & Latino American Affairs Commission
CEO, Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Mentor to Allison Franco

Yolanda Camarena served in Higher Education Administration for more than thirty years. During that time she served as Director of Admissions for Newman University, was Associate Director of Graduate Programs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, served as the Regional Coordinator for the LULAC Educational Service Center and co-hosted and produced “Mi Gente,” a television program which highlighted the Hispanic community for KAKE TV.

Ms. Camarena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from WSU and a Masters’ in Public Administration in Education Policy from Harvard, Kennedy School of Government. She currently serves as the President of the Board of the Kansas Hispanic Education and Development Foundation, Chair of the Schools and Scholarship Committee for Harvard College, also serves on the Grants Committee Board for Wichita Community Foundation and the Butler Community College Foundation.

Ms. Camarena believes that education is one of the most important aspects of success for a person. She is committed to ensure that our Hispanic youth have every opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education and making a difference in their lives.


Javier Villegas

Javier Villegas

Agent, Farmers Insurance
Mentor to Dustin Le

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 a Farmers 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.”


Alex Nordine

Alex Nordine

Professional Musician, Guitar Teacher
Mentor, Brandon Piña

Alex graduated from Friends University in 2007 with a BA in Spanish and a BM in Music Performance, and went on to complete a MA in Spanish Translation at the University of Puerto Rico in 2012. He then worked for several years as a freelance Spanish translator from his home in Wichita. He is married and has two children. Today he teaches guitar lessons and performs regularly with several bands around the Wichita area.


Christina Bluml

Christina Bluml

Director of Marketing, Exploration Place
Mentor to Nohemí Pineda

Christina has more than 24 years of experience in marketing, and has been with Exploration Place since 2001. She oversees the museum’s advertising, public relations, digital marketing, publications, promotional signage and website strategies. Before joining Exploration Place, Christina served as marketing specialist for seven years at Commerce Bank, Wichita. In 2013 she received the Wichita American Marketing Association’s Non-Profit Marketer of the Year Award. She has served on local boards including Wichita American Marketing Association, PRSA Kansas and currently serves on the Wichita Hispanic Chamber board of directors. Christina earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and mass communications from Kansas State University.


Shelbye Smith

Shelbye Smith

Human Resources and Risk Manager, iSi Environmental
Mentor to Ana Waren

Shelbye was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. She attended Friends University where she majored in Psychology and Spanish. She has her master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Emporia State University. Shelbye is the Human Resources and Risk Manager for iSi Environmental, which provides environmental, health, and safety consulting and support services to other organizations in Wichita and beyond. Shelbye is currently the Director for the Kansas State Council of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and has previously been involved in the Wichita Chapter of SHRM. Shelbye has participated in various community programs including Leadership Wichita, Advance Kansas, Kansas Community Leadership Initiative, and Visioneering Wichita. Shelbye also volunteers at Pathway Church working with a small group of Kindergarten students.


Peer Mentors

Cassidy Darrah

Cassidy Darrah

Health Sciences and Spanish Major, Junior
Mentor to Kimberly Bustillos-Chacón

Cassidy Darrah is from Wichita, Kansas. I am a part of the soccer team and tennis team at Friends University as well as the president of Sigma Delta Pi & Spanish Club. Cassidy is very passionate about traveling and helping others. She hopes to become a medical missionary. Some of Cassidy’s goals for the future include to attend dental school and travel to Spanish-speaking countries and work with missions programs.


Tesla Bethel

Tesla Bethel

Zoo Science Major, Senior
Mentor to Allison Franco

Tesla Bethel works part time at Cryo Kansas as an associate helping people with chronic inflammation, and sports injuries. She lives in an apartment with her boyfriend, adorable cat named Ollie, and rambunctious husky named Hunter. She loves to travel especially abroad. After earning a degree from Friends University, she hopes to be a great keeper, or work at a wildlife rehabilitation center. She is incredibly excited to see what the future holds, and to work with animals in need of protection and conservation.


Emilio Escamilla

Emilio Escamilla

Business and Spanish Major, Junior
Mentor to Dustin Le

Emilio Escamilla is from Aguascalientes, Mexico. He is part of the baseball team at Friends University as well as the president of the Hispanic American Leadership Organization (HALO) at Friends. Emilio is extremely passionate about mathematics and physics. Some of Emilio’s goals for the future are to go to grad school for physics and be a change in the world.


Ashley Knepper

Ashley Knepper

Music & Spanish Major, Junior
Mentor to Brandon Piña

Ashley is from Winfield, Kansas. She enjoys playing guitar with her father and spending time with her cats while drinking coffee. Ashley will be studying abroad in Merida, Mexico for the Spring semester.


Melanie Mccormick

Melanie McCormick

Accounting, Business Administration & Spanish, Junior
Mentor to Nohemí Pineda

She is a junior from Derby Kansas. Melanie is a member of the volleyball team. She is considering either going into private accounting or going on to law school. She is currently working at Kohl’s while going to school. She lives in Wichita with two roommates and her dog.


Madison Rhodes

Madison Rhodes

Spanish Major, Senior
Mentor to Ana Waren

Madison Campbell works at Wesley Medical Center in the imaging department and is a volunteer with the Cheney Fire Department. She gets to work as a firefighter and EMT with her husband, father and grandfather. After earning her degree at Friends, she plans on using her Spanish degree to interpret and translate so that she can reach more people as a paramedic. Maddi and her husband Bryce got married in May of 2018 and live in Cheney, Kansas with their three dogs Sasha, Scooby and Chewy.


Academic Mentors

Bill Allan

Bill Allan

Associate Professor of Family Life & Division Chair of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Former Dean of the College of Business, Arts, Sciences and Education

Mentor to Kimberly Bustillos-Chacón

Bill Allan graduated with his bachelor’s of science from Abilene Christian University and his master of arts degree from California State Polytechnic.


Patrick Matthews

Dr. Patrick Mathews

Professor of Biology & Program Director of Zoo Science
Mentor to Allison Franco

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.


Arlen Honts

Dr. Arlen Honts

Professor of Business; Division Chair of Business & Information Technology
Mentor to Dustin Le

Dr. Arlen K. Honts joined the faculty of Friends University in 2004 – prior to that he was on the faculty of the School of Business at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina for eleven years – serving two and one half years as the Dean of the School of Business. Dr. Honts is exceptionally active in the community, having held various positions such as: Civic Leader for McConnell Air Force Base, Honorary Commander for the 350th Air Refueling Squadron, Past President of the Rotary Club of Wichita, member of the Society for Human Resource Management, board member of Directors for the Wichita SHRM Scholarship Fund, member of the Small Business Advisory Board for the Wichita Chamber of Commerce, past board member of Cleveland County (North Carolina) Chamber of Commerce and the Cleveland County Economic Development Commission. He received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Honts earned his Ph.D. in Organization Studies at Vanderbilt University.


Jamie Knight

Dr. Jamie Knight

Assistant Professor of Piano
Mentor to Brandon Piña

Dr. James Knight was born in Wichita and during his undergraduate years, he won the Naftzger Piano Award and the Kansas Cultural Trust Award enabling him to study in New York City. He attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he studied under Constance Keene. In 1990 and 1996 respectively, he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from this institution. Dr. Knight was a finalist in the Leschetizky Piano Competition and also performed at Steinway Hall in New York City. Dr. Knight is now in his 20th year of teaching at Friends University.


Keas Keasler

Professor Keas Keasler

Assistant Professor & Program Director of Christian Spiritual Formation
Mentor to Nohemí Pineda

Keas Keasler has his B.A. from Baylor University, M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology. Keas has done extensive work in the areas of spiritual formation and missiology, presented at various conferences around the country, and serves on the board of the Ecclesia Network, a missional network of churches and leaders in North America. Ordained as a Baptist minister, Keasler’s background is in pastoral ministry – he has a deep love for the global church, having traveled and done mission work in over forty countries and preached on six continents.


Dr. John Simmons

Dr. John Simmons

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Mentor to Ana Waren

Dr. Simmons earned his Ph.D. in Physiology from Missouri University in Columbia, Missouri in 1994. He has taught college since then while attending medical school and serving as an administrator for Hutchinson Community College. He has six children, four biological and two adopted from Ethiopia.