Staff Directory

 Dr. Aldama

Frederick Luis Aldama
LASER Founder and Program Director
Distinguished Professor, Department of English and
Department. of Spanish and Portuguese

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.


Carlos Kelly
LASER Program Coordinator
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!


Ryan Vogel
LASER Program Assistant
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.


Stacey Alex
LASER Hub Coordinator
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
LASER Mentor
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.


Angely Herrera Castro
LASER Mentor
Undergraduate Student/Medical Laboratory Science

I became a part of LASER because I wanted to provide resources for young Latinx students to help them on their journey through high school and beyond. By being a part of a hub, I create a community that allows Latinx students to freely express their concerns, thoughts, and dreams. I am able to watch how Latinx students become like a little family that is curious to see what we have to offer them. I hope my experiences and those of my fellow peers can have a lasting impact on the success of my students


Carol Bitzinger
LASER Hub Coordinator
PhD Student/Department of English

As a first-generation college student, I wanted to get involved with LASER because I know how stressful it can feel to navigate college admissions. Mentoring has been important to my development as a scholar, and I am eager for the opportunity to pay it forward for LASER scholars!


De’Chelle Cherryone Buckhalter
LASER Mentor
Undergraduate Student - 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.


Will Cisneros
LASER Mentor
Undergraduate Student/Biomedical Engineering

I was born in El Salvador and moved to the U.S. at the age of eight. I have always been interested in science, but upon starting college discovered a love for teaching and connecting with others. This led to my involvement in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Biomedical Engineering Society. LASER gave me a chance to intern with Cardinal Health and learn more about the pharmaceutical industry. I’m excited to pass the torch and ensure that other Latinos have similar opportunities to succeed in today’s society.

 Marcos_Corchado Marcos Corchado

LASER Hub Coordinator
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
LASER Hub Coordinator
PhD Student/Linguistics

I love LASER because I love creating a space for other Latinx gente. I enjoy the academic prestige of being a LASER Coordinator and the ability to linguistically and culturally find a home with mi gente. I’ve gotten to see other first-generation students, like me, graduate from high school, universities, and graduate school…it’s an amazing feeling for all of us at LASER. My cultural studies/areas of expertise include heritage language learners; the role of interpreters in health care; and accessibility to health care based on cultures, discourses, and practices with a focus on race, equity, and inclusion.

 Mark_Hoff Mark Hoff

LASER Hub Coordinator
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.


Bushra Ismail
LASER Hub Coordinator
Masters/Clinical Mental Health Counseling

I have had the same mentee, Adriana, throughout my entire time with LASER, since she was in the eighth grade. I became involved in this program as a non-Latinx individual because of my identity as a Somali refugee. I have discovered that Adriana and I have a lot more similarities than we do differences. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be a part of her life and help her through her high school experience. This mentoring relationship has been one of the most rewarding parts of my university experience, and I am happy that I get to work with her until her graduation.


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

Meeting with my LASER hub is the highlight of my week--our students are full of joy and curiosity and determination, and it's an honor to mentor them as they make decisions that might affect their lives one or five or ten years from now. As a first-generation American and college graduate, I wouldn't be here--studying and doing what I love most--without the guidance of my own mentors along the way. I feel so lucky to be able to pass on the wisdom and support they offered me!


Oihane Muxika-Loitzate
PhD Student/ Department of Spanish and Portuguese

I am a PhD student at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and my research interests are phonetics and phonology, bilingualism, second language acquisition, sociolinguistics, and Spanish in the US. I decided to become a volunteer in LASER this year because it is having a very positive impact in the Latinx community and it is helping high school students become aware of the resources that are available to them. I am sure that this will be a very rewarding experience and that I will learn a lot from it! 


Bonnie Opliger
LASER Hub Coordinator
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.

 Danielle_Orozco Danielle Orozco

LASER Hub Coordinator
PhD Student/English

As a third generation Chicana, my research includes Latinx Literature, Film, and Television as well as Visual Culture and Performance Studies. I am especially interested in the representation of Latinx women in popular and independent media. I joined LASER three years ago because I am passionate about community-building and working with youth to find pathways to higher education. Currently, I am a co-coordinator for the DeSales Hub and am excited to be part of this amazing mentorship program.

 Estephanie_Ortiz Estephanie Ortiz

LASER Hub Coordinator
Masters Student/College of Social Work

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. I am also a Research Project Coordinator for JUNTOSA tu LADOand I.M.P.A.C.T. and a Program Assistant for the SPPO Outreach Committee.

 Marlene_Perez Marlene Perez

LASER Hub Coordinator
Undergraduate Student - Business major\Non-profit minor

I have been involved in LASER since my freshman year of high school and am also on the executive board for the Latino Student Association. I take pride in my Mexican heritage and showcase that as I help high school students navigate their career path and assist them through development and leadership workshops. Being a part of LASER has allowed me to serve the underrepresented minorities by providing them additional resources and a clear path to higher education. 


Cristina Raquel-Rivera Shaheen
LASER Hub Coordinator
PhD Student/Department of English

As a Latina who grew up far away from most of her family and struggled through the first years of college, I feel inspired to help adolescents see the greatness that they have inside them. I believe that the youth should be our top priority as they are our hope for the future and therefore should be treated with great care and attention. My passion and areas of study are children’s literature and childhood studies, through which I love working with animation and popular culture.

 Camila-Robalin Camila Robalino

LASER Mentor
Undergraduate Student/Computer and Information Science

As someone who is a first-generation college student and American, it was important for me to be able to connect to younger students in similar situations and help lead them on a successful path to college. LASER was the perfect program to become involved in and help students discover their potential, despite any obstacles they may face. Our mentoring and relationships with LASER scholars is what inspires me to continue my higher education and be involved in our diverse community.


Katlin Sweeney
PhD Program / English

My identity and experiences as a second-generation Salvadoran-American and as a biracial woman have taught me to embrace and celebrate the rich diversity of Latinidad that exists in our communities. I am excited to bring my training as a writing instructor, student journalist, and LGBTQA+ resource center coordinator to LASER to help make space for young folks to claim their own agency. Before coming to Ohio State, my activism was based in San Diego and San Marcos, California, so I am excited to learn from, contribute to, and share space with mi gente in the Midwest through the LASER program.

 Josh_Truett Josh Truett

LASER Hub Coordinator
PhD Candidate/Department of Theatre/Specialization in Sexuality Studies

During 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 in LASER helps to address this problem. My focus is on performance, cultural and media studies of indigenous and queer festivals in Oaxaca, Mexico.

 Brenda Vazquez Brenda Vasquez

LASER Hub Coordinator
Undergraduate Student - Health Sciences major/Biology minor

I am a fourth year at Ohio state on a pre-med track. Aside from LASER I am involved with volunteering at the James Cancer hospital, and I am also president of Global Medical and Dental Brigades at Ohio State. I am Involved with LASER because I really enjoy giving back and being able to help kids that don’t have the resources that they need to be successful. I enjoy working with all the different kinds of people that you get to work with because there is always something to learn from everyone that you meet.

 Jacinta_Yanders Jacinta Yanders

LASER Hub Coordinator
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.