Latinx Engagement Coordinator
My name is Iris Castellanos, and I am excited to be one of the Latinx Engagement Coordinators for the Latinx Resource Center at Waubonsee. I was born and raised in Aurora, Il, so I am thrilled to continue to serve my community and neighboring communities. As a first-generation college student, I know how intimidating it can be to navigate college. My goal after graduating from Concordia University was to return to my community and link myself to an organization whose purpose was to promote lifelong learning. I was drawn to Waubonsee because I wanted to be a part of a team that values and engages the students they work with. I enjoy motivating, supporting, and guiding students and their families through their journey in higher education.
Fun facts about me, I like jumping off high things like airplanes, cliffs, cenotes, etc. I enjoy the thrill of trying and experiencing new things every time I travel. I spend most of my time with my family, so making memories with them is my absolute favorite thing to do.
B.S. in Psychology from Concordia University Chicago
M.B.A from Aurora University
Gabriel Chacon, Jr.
I started my educational journey at Oakton Community College where I graduated with my Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts and then I transferred to Northeastern Illinois University where I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Media, and Theater with a minor in LGBTQ Studies. I have worked in a college setting since my second year of college. I went from working as a student worker in student life, to working as a Peer Mentor with TRIO SSS, to currently working as one of the new Latinx Engagement Coordinators here at Waubonsee Community College. Higher Education is something that I found out of nowhere but automatically knew that is where I want to be. Being new to Waubonsee Community College I am still learning various things about the campus but being able to help students and promote the new Latinx Resources Center to the students and the community is a huge honor to have here at Waubonsee. A couple fun facts about me is that I love working out, and sports! (Fútbol is my favorite), love technology, and huge fan comics and anime
A.A. in Liberal Arts from Oakton Community College
B.A. in Communications, Media, and Theater, minor in LGBTQ studies from Northeastern Illinois University
Latinx Resource Center Manager
My name is Franklin Ortega Palaguachi who serves you as the Latinx Resource Center Manager at Waubonsee Community College. I was born and raised in Ecuador, where I lived for 17 years. I started my education journey in a little Escuelita named Juan Jose Salinas in my Ranchito Corralon. I attended four years of high school, in mi colegio Javier Loyola. These both institutions are in Cañar province of Ecuador.
Moving to the United States for the American dream. I had to learn English and work full time to help my family while I started High school as an ESL (English Second Language). Later, my only choice and the best choice were to continue my education at Oakton Community College. Thanks to mentors and a few people who believed in me I was able to successfully pass my developmental courses (English and Math) and complete my transfer course in three years.
Already at Northeastern, I wanted to be involved in activities and leadership initiatives. During my undergraduate years at NEIU, I was a student trustee, McNair Scholar and participated in various organizations focused on leadership and the success of students of color. Also, I am proud to be one of the founders of Phi Iota Alpha fraternity, Beta Phi Chapter.
My involvement at NEIU and valued the support and mentoring from faculty and staff made me appreciate higher education and choose this wonderful path as a career. After my undergraduate, I received my Master's in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Administration from the same institution.
After a few years, I came to Waubonsee's Latinx Resource Center with experience working in various private and public universities and community college institutions. I worked on student retention initiatives, mentoring programs and multicultural spaces. In addition, I have created programs to support students transition from high school to college and inclusive support for undocumented students.
A couple of fun facts about me: I love dancing Folklore music from Ecuador and latinx rhythms. Also, I love exports (running and soccer being my favorites).
B.A. in Latino and Latin America Studies, minor in Social Justice from Northeastern Illinois University.
M.A. Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern Illinois University.
Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University.