Francis Castro is the newly-crowned Miss Wisconsin Latina. Castro can speed-paint, is a professional makeup artist, sews and works as a paraeducator during summers when she is not studying at UW-Whitewater. However, her greatest passion is her platform of bilingualism and Castro emphasizes that it is important for young Latinos not to lose their ability to speak Spanish when they feel the pressure to perfect their English.
Luis Franco is a Bilingual Family Engagement Coordinator at the Green Bay School District, where he is committed to reaching out to engage parents in meaningful ways and helping parents to actively support their children’s and adolescents’ learning and development. Franco is also an energetic master of ceremonies and a popular public address announcer for community and corporate events. He has been an outgoing, interactive disc jockey and entertainer for the past 15 years using his bilingual skills to cater to a wide variety of audiences.
Nelson Soler is the chair of the CItizen Board of Commissioners for the Fire and Police Commission in Milwaukee. He is also the president and Chief Solutions Officer of Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute Inc., a multicultural marketing organization. Soler is an active member of his community and is part of many Latinx organizations. Soler received two bachelor’s degrees from the State University of New York and holds an MBA and Masters of Science in international business from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Anny Morrobel-Sosa is the vice president for academic and student affairs at the University of Wisconsin System. In 2016, she founded The Micaela Group, which assists universities in improving student success, closing achievement gaps, and strategic planning, including diversifying students and faculty in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields, according to a UW news release. Morrobel-Sosa has also served as the senior vice president for academic affairs at Herbert H. Lehman College and the dean of the college of science at the University of Texas-El Paso.
Maira Gavioli is an international lawyer with over 15 years of in-house and law firm experience in the U.S. and abroad. She currently works as Assistant General Counsel for Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Before joining Harley-Davison, she worked as Lead Counsel for GE Healthcare, as an Associate Attorney for Foley & Mansfield PLLP, and Associate Attorney for Ribeiro, Küster, Rosa Advogados Associados in Brazil. In 2019, she was honored by the Wisconsin Law Journal. In addition, Gavioli also serves as a board member for Latino Arts Inc.
Benjamin Juarez is a technology strategist and entrepreneur. In August 2016, he founded Cream City Coders where he focuses on desktop, mobile and web development while working closely with clients to develop comprehensive project plans for production of simple to complex software. Additionally, Cream City Coders provides technology training to middle and high school youth. Juarez also works as a Technology Training Manager for i.c.stars in Milwaukee, an immersive, technology-based leadership development program for promising young adults. Prior to this position, he worked as a fiscal researcher for Wisconsin Policy Forum where he conducted fiscal research using publicly available and in-house municipal financial documents. Juarez has co-authored award-winning reports which played an informative role for elected and business leaders in the Greater Milwaukee Metropolitan area. Also, as a regional representative for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin from 2013-2016, he worked on outreach efforts in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. In 2011, Juarez led a team of young professionals in a bid to upset the incumbent in Milwaukee’s 8th aldermanic district.
Valentina Ahedo is Dean of Students at Madison College’s Goodman South campus, whose opening in 2019 represented a major shift to focus on education and economic development for the South Side of Madison, especially for the communities of color concentrated there. The south campus was initially expected to serve 1,500 students, but just two weeks into its first semester, enrollment was nearly 1,850. Tina was part of the Madison College family long before the south campus opened, working her way up over the course of 17 years. Centro Hispano of Dane County honored her with the Roberto Sánchez Award in 2019.
Karen Olivo is a Tony-winning Broadway actress and theater educator who chose Madison as her home after announcing that she was taking a break from the bright lights of New York City. She might be best known for originating the role of Vanessa, opposite Lin-Manuel Miranda, in his musical “In the Heights” in 2008. In 2009, she earned a Tony Award for her performance as Anita in the revival of “West Side Story.” She moved to Madison in 2013, getting involved with Forward Theater Company, opening a studio to train young performers and teaching acting at UW-Madison. In 2016, she took over the role of Angelica Schuyler in the Chicago production of Hamilton. After leaving that production in 2017, she returned to teaching, saying, “I’m leaving the spotlight to make sure others find theirs.”
Part five coming tomorrow!