LASER Directory

 Dr. Aldama

Frederick Luis Aldama
Founder and Director of LASER

Frederick Luis Aldama is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Departments of English and of Spanish and Portuguese. He teaches courses on Latino and Latin American cultural phenomena, including literature, film, TV, music, sports, video games and comic books. Aldama is the author, co-author and editor of thirty books. He is founder and director of the Latinx Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER). He is founder and co-director of Humanities and Cognitive Sciences High School Summer Institute at Ohio State.

Read more on Dr. Aldama.


Stacey Alex
Latinx Studies/Department of Spanish and Portuguese

I joined LASER because theory and research must be grounded in social action. This program is powerful because it creates a space to honor Latinx students' funds of knowledge and works to repair our broken educational pipeline. I am proud to be part of this team because we build reciprocal relationships of trust rather than impose top-down outreach.


Yuri Alfredo Arteaga
Undergraduate Student/Accounting, Fisher College of Business

As a graduate from Whitehall-Yearling High School, I knew I wanted to get involved with LASER once I got to Ohio State. I always knew I wanted to help students from the Latino community empower themselves and get as far as possible in life. I was once that student who needed an extra push in order to dream bigger and put in extra effort in school, Mentoring with LASER is my way of paying forward.

 Ayendy_Bonifacio Ayendy Bonifacio

PhD Candidate/English/Nineteenth-Century America/Department of English  

I am a doctoral candidate in English at The Ohio State University with a focus on print culture and hemispheric studies. I joined the LASER program to provide high school students with the information and guidance they need to go to college. As a first-generation college student and immigrant from the Dominican Republic, I understand the importance of mentorship for higher education and how programs like LASER can make a difference in a student’s life.

De’Chelle Cherryone Buckhalter
Undergraduate Student - 2nd year/Spanish

Why I chose LASER: As an alumni graduate from Beechcroft High School, I wanted to show and be the example to LASER students so that they’d know that anything is possible. I wanted to show them that they could very well be in my shoes perusing a higher education despite their fears, doubts and worries of doing so. I also wanted to be the example that I wish I had during my high school experience.


Angely Herrera Castro
Undergraduate Student/BS in Biology/Focus in Life Sciences Education

I chose to get involved with LASER because it has had a great positive impact on my academic career and because I believe that mentoring is one of the best ways to help Latinx students find their way in high school and college. I want Latinx students to be able to find the same resources I had available to me so they can keep moving forward!

 Marcos_Corchado Marcos Corchado

PhD Student/Molecular Genetics

I decided to become a LASER coordinator because I myself am a product of STEM undergraduate outreach programs. These experiences were crucial to my development as a researcher, and now feel it is my turn to help the next generation of Latinx scholars find an early path to success. 


Elena Costello
Doctoral student/Linguistics and Cultural Studies/Areas of expertise include heritage language learners as part of Latinx cultural studies; the role of interpreters in health care; and accessibility to health care based on cultures, discourses, and practices of health with a focus on race, equity, and inclusion. 

Previously, Costello managed La Clinica Latina, a free medical clinic for Spanish-speaking people; worked as pediatric medical interpreter for a Trauma I hospital; organized Sol Con, the first ever African-American & Latino Comic Expo; and worked as a consultant for the Mexican government on promoting access to rural health care. 

Costello is a Graduate Assistant in GAANN and a LASER Fellow. 

In her free time, Costello competes on the university triathlon team and looks forward to competing at World Championships. 


Mark Hoff
PhD Student/Department of Spanish and Portuguese

I joined LASER because my love for Spanish has led me to appreciate the Hispanic community of Columbus, and I want to give back. I enjoy working with Latinx high school students and am excited by the prospect of helping them succeed academically.


Carlos Kelly
PhD student in Digital Humanities/Department of English

One of the deciding factors in attending OSU was the fact that I could work with LASER and be a role model for Latinx youth. Being a first generation Mexican-American and from the border-town of San Diego, I knew that I could offer my experience and life training as a resource to the Latinx community in Ohio. I'm here to be a positive Latinx presence and to show Latinx youth that college is not out of reach. Si se puede!

Julie Garbuz Kovalenko
MFA Candidate in Creative Nonfiction/ Department of English/Creative Writing Program

As a first-generation American and college student, I'm grateful for all the guidance I've received from mentors along the way. I joined LASER to pay forward the wisdom and support that made my education - and the opportunities resulting from it - possible. Plus, I love to write! And I love helping others find a way to tell their stories, in whatever form they take - including personal statements, scholarship applications, and college entrance essays.

 no photo available Kaitlin Kuntz

Alumnus of The Ohio State University/Bachelors in Spanish (focus on Iberian culture)/Minor in education

I decided to get involved with LASER because after hearing what the program is about - I HAD to be a part of it. Mentoring is extremely important in our society and to be able to contribute to a community I am so in awe of - I couldn't not be a part of LASER. I decided to stay involved with LASER post-graduation to help counterbalance all of the negative rhetoric flowing around the Latinx community in any way I possibly can - staying involved and informed. 


Sarah Little
Graduate Student in Hispanic Linguistics/ Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

I joined LASER last year given that this outreach opportunity is akin to my research interests, which include phonetic variation and language attitudes surrounding minority language speakers. However, working with local high school students in Columbus has put a face to my academic pursuits. The passion and motivation of these students is extremely inspiring. They are deserving of every opportunity available to any student in this country, regardless of language background, ethnicity or citizenship status. I am honored to be a resource to them in their pursuit of education.


Katy McFarland
Honors and Pre-Med Undergraduate Student/Neuroscience

I chose to get involved with LASER to support the Latinx community and combat prejudice/discrimination in Columbus. I believe every student should have the opportunity and resources to go to college, native English speaker or not, documented or undocumented. I became a mentor so I can share my educational privilege and expertise with high school students interested in college.


Bonnie Opliger
PhD Student/Film and Pop Culture/Department of English

I chose to become a LASER hub coordinator because I wanted to get involved in the community. It is especially important to me to be a positive influence on this diverse group of young people not only because their outlook will shape our future but also because it reminds me of the impact of education and why I chose to study at Ohio State in the first place.

 Estephanie_Ortiz Estephanie Ortiz

BA in Linguistics, International Studies (Security and Intelligence)/Masters Student in the College of Social Work/Research Project Coordinator for JUNTOSA tu LADOI.M.P.A.C.T./Program Assistant for SPPO Outreach Committee

I first encountered LASER while coordinating the IMPACT project. Seeing the effect that this program has on these students is why I continue to work with LASER.

 Nicole_Reinhold-Larsson Nicole Reinhold-Larsson

Undergraduate Student - 3rd year/Microbiology major/Epidemiology minor

Latinos are extremely underrepresented in higher education, and I wanted to help to close the gap. Having parents from a different country, they did not know about the application process in the United States, and having a program like LASER while I was in high school would have been really helpful. 


Cristina Raquel-Rivera Shaheen
PhD Student/Department of English/My passion and areas of study are children's literature and childhood studies, through which I love working with animation and popular culture

As a Latina who grew up far away from most of her family and struggled through the first years of going to and staying in college, I feel inspired to help adolescents see the greatness that they have inside them. I believe that youths are our top priority and the true hope of the future and therefore should be treated with great care and attention. 

 no photo available Joshua L. Truett

PhD Candidate/Performance/History/Theory/Department of Theatre/Specialization in Sexuality Studies/My focus is on performance, cultural and media studies of indigenous and queer festival in Oaxaca, Mexico

During the orientation at Ohio State, they showed us the figures for "diversity" on campus. Being from California, I was shocked that Latinx students made up such a small portion of this huge student population. I hope that my participation is LASER helps to address this problem on this campus and others.

 Brenda Vazquez

Brenda Vazquez
Undergraduate student - third year/Health Sciences major\Biology minor

I am pre-med and hopeful about being in the medical field in the future. I am Mexican, bilingual and have a strong passion for my culture hence I go back to visit often. I grew up in Strongsville, Ohio which is a suburb off of Cleveland. Here at Ohio State I am involved with LASER (which I have been a part of since freshman year), Global Medical and dental brigades where I am education chair and I also intern for Patient Experience at the Wexner Medical Center in the Progressive Care Unit. 

 Ryan_Vogel Ryan Vogel

MS student in Forest Science/MCRP student in City Planning

I joined LASER as a way to help the next generation of Latinx scholars get ahead in life, because we all know there are plenty of obstacles along the way.

 Jacinta_Yanders Jacinta Yanders

PhD Candidate/Department of English/Television, Film, and Pop Culture

I chose to get involved with LASER because I wanted to help students who, like myself back in high school, might not have access to and/or awareness of all of the resources and possibilities that exist.