Our Staff   ·   Our Board   ·   Associate Council

Our Staff


Jorge E. Figueredo, MPP

Executive Director
Mr. Figueredo has extensive experience leading organizations and programs committed to providing social services, advancing social justice, and advocating on behalf of immigrant communities. Mr. Figueredo was the Executive Director of the Hispanic Committee of Virginia, a local non-profit, which he transformed into a regional multi-million dollar organization. He conceptualized and founded Security One Bank (today known as John Marshall Bank) with 13 other members. He was also the director of the ACLU of Virginia’s Racial Justice and Immigrant Rights Project. Most recently, he worked for The Centech Group, Inc., and the National Federal Contractors Association (NaFCA). He is a native of Colombia, received his bachelor’s degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota, Colombia, and his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland at College Park. He has two young daughters who attend Arlington Public Schools. Mr. Figueredo is excited to focus on providing educational opportunities for our immigrant youth, which in his experience as an executive, advocate, and an immigrant himself, is critical for having a long-term impact in our communities.

Natalia Montelongo, M.Ed., MPA

Director of Programs
Natalia Montelongo is a first-generation Mexican-American from Oklahoma. She received her M.Ed. in Educational Studies from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK in 2016, and as of May 2020, she was able to obtain her Masters of Public Administration degree from American University. Before arriving in Washington D.C., she worked as a Program Coordinator for Aspiring Americans, a program focused on providing financial aid assistance, mentorship, and academic counseling to undocumented students in the Oklahoma City metro area. Most recently, she worked for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants as a Program Officer with the mission of providing resources and tools to children and families who were in need of legal protective services, access to education, and help adapting to their new country. She hopes to continue to equip herself with more tools to continue to fulfill her mission and passions of equity, empowerment, engagement, and education with Edu-Futuro. From 2017 to 2019, Natalia served as Chair of the Edu-Futuro Associate Council.

Victoria Mejía, MA

Youth Programs Coordinator
With almost 30 years combined experience as Chief of Special Projects for an international conglomerate, and competence in education, Victoria has skills relating with individuals of all ages and backgrounds as well as building relationships with communities and individuals from all walks of life. Victoria has the ability to understand key concepts in a wide range of subject areas and to develop tools and instructional procedures to explain material to individuals from diverse backgrounds and educational levels. She has developed a keen sense of empathy and active listening skills, which in turn allow her to impact and influence those whom she works with. Victoria has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Research. She completed a Master’s Degree in Peace Studies with the highest distinction Summa Cum Laude from the University of Salerno, Italy. She has a Master’s Degree in Education, Didactics, and Pedagogy as well.

Nora Lopez

Adult Programs Coordinator
Nora is a second-generation Mexican American from Texas. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Psychology with Park University. Nora comes from Computer CORE, where she worked as Director of Programs and Services, servicing low income adults with the basics in life skills and computer skills to prepare for the workforce. She was responsible for leading and directing the organization in all operational functions including outreach strategies, for expanding awareness of services to Northern Virginia residents, community partners, foundations, businesses, and government agencies. Nora also has an extensive case management background working with families in APAH, the HUD funded family self-sufficiency, (FSS) programs in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, MD. She served as the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, (NAHRO), FSS Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, Chairperson. Also, as the FSS Regional Roundtable Group Chairperson. Current Chair, SEEC, (Shirlington Employment and Education Center) Board of Directors, member since 2018. Nora is a U.S. Army veteran with a professional lifetime of service to others. She is looking forward to continuing her work in empowering others to find their full potential and to growing and learning more from others.

Maria del Carmen Mateus

Parent Support Specialist II
Born and raised in Ecuador, Maria obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of Loja where she majored in Middle School Education with a thesis focused on Diagnostics of the Intellectual Capacity of Elementary School Students in Quito, Ecuador. In 2000, she moved to the U.S. with her husband and two children where they made Fairfax their home. Shortly after, Maria began her career with Fairfax County Public Schools. For the past 14 years with FCPS, she served as an assistant teacher for children with special needs, speaker and presenter for Drug and Alcohol Prevention Parent Workshops, and as Parent Liaison for elementary and high schools. Maria has always found passion working with the immigrant community and has made it her mission to lead and engage families to successfully navigate the educational system. She joined Edu-Futuro in September 2016.

Alexis Rivas

Workforce Development Specialist
Alexis was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the United States in 2016 along with his brother. Alexis has 14 years of experience in the IT field. He was working at the Carlos Rosario School as a paraeducator of the IT Fundamentals Course helping people to improve their computer skills, find a better job in the technology field, and succeed in the IT Fundamentals certification test. He is now part of our team as a Workforce Development Specialist and also brings his IT knowledge to the organization to improve our hard work every day.
Monica Valencia

Monica Valencia, M.S.W.

Parent Support Specialist
Monica received her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work in 2019. Her past experiences include case management, counseling, and job coaching. She has worked with low-income families and helped families link to various resources needed. Monica has also provided individual and family counseling to at-risk youth and their families using the Family Centered Treatment Model. She has worked with transition-aged youth that was diagnosed with a mental health disorder and provided vocational services. Monica appreciates working with individuals and giving them the tools needed so that they can be empowered and become self-sufficient. She is grateful for this experience at Edu-Futuro, an opportunity to work with the immigrant and Latino Community.
AmeriCorps, Milena

Milena Jeffers

AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator
Milena Jeffers is a graduate of Brandeis University where she studied Sociology. Milena has spent four years investigating national and global power structures, gaining an increased commitment to racial and social justice. Growing up in the Pittsburgh Public School system, Milena was lucky to be involved with communities of youth activists who sought to change policies. Milena hopes that she can utilize her education and experiences to empower other young people to take action and create their own futures. Her passion for education led her to Edu-Futuro, where she is excited to put her theoretical knowledge to practice as our new AmeriCorps Volunteer Coordinator. Originally from Arlington, Milena is enthusiastic about reconnecting with her history and serving the Edu-Futuro community.
AmeriCorps, Raymond

Raymond Smith

AmeriCorps ELP Coordinator
Raymond is a recent graduate of University of Delaware, where he double majored in Political Science and Public Policy with a minor in Sociology. As a student, Ray worked in student government, alumni outreach and community engagement. He also was extensively involved in community service and interned in state government. Ray is incredibly excited to carry out Edu-Futuro’s vision and help lead the Emerging Leaders Program as our new ELP Coordinator.
AmeriCorps, Katie

Katie Baca-Ortiz

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Katie Ortiz is a current senior at Utica College located in Upstate New York. Her major is Psychology Child-Life with a minor in Spanish. Katie is the daughter of Honduran immigrants, and was raised in Alexandria, Virginia. She has served as a volunteer in programs which mentor, educate, and guide adolescents who come from a low-socioeconomic background. Katie is passionate about immigration reform, diversity, and serving the youth. She decided to take her passion to the next level, so during her last semester of college, she joined AmeriCorps and became a volunteer for Edu-Futuro. Katie fully identifies with Edu-Futuro’s mission to “empower under-resourced immigrant youth and parents through education, leadership development, and family engagement, to become the next generation of professionals who transform their communities.” Katie is honored to be a part of Edu-Futuro’s team.
AmeriCorps, Sienna

Siena Kunze

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Sienna is a recent graduate of George Mason University, where she studied Social Justice and Human Rights and minored in Sustainability Studies. During her years of study, she held a special interest in race, immigrant, and refugee studies. Originally from Nebraska, Sienna has found a great home in Northern Virginia and looks forward to serving the immigrant community in the area and supporting Edu-Futuro's mission.
AmeriCorps, Julia

Julia Goetz

AmeriCorps STEM Robotics Clubs Facilitator NOVA
Julia is a Puerto Rican who was born and raised in South Florida. She is a recent graduate of the University of Florida, where she double majored in Biology and Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. She has served in numerous volunteer programs where she focused on educating, mentoring, and empowering underprivileged youth. Julia has volunteered abroad in both Spain and Costa Rica to teach children English and help rebuild homes. Julia is currently applying to medical school and is eager to combine her volunteer experiences with her science background while serving as the STEM Robotics Clubs Facilitator. She is passionate about Edu-Futuro’s mission and is extremely excited to serve with the team.
AmeriCorps, Natalie

Natalie Arandia

AmeriCorps STEM Robotics Clubs Facilitator NOVA
Natalie Arandia is a current junior at George Mason University in Virginia. Her major is in Business with a minor in Software Engineering. Natalie is the first person in her family to attend college and the daughter of Bolivian immigrants. Natalie was previously an ELP I & ELP II student at Edu-Futuro, so we're very proud to have her in our AmeriCorps Team this year. She also interned with Edu-Futuro to help create the virtual STEM programs. Natalie is passionate about helping students learn how to code and further their education. She is very excited to be a part of our team.

Hector Tejeda

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Hector is a New Yorican who was raised by a single Puerto Rican mother. He also has roots in the Dominican Republic on his father's side. While his passion for basketball did not get him a college scholarship, his hard work led him to be accepted to the AOP/HEOP program at Union College. Due to his background, he has constantly mentored innercity youth, worked at summer camps and led community service events. Hector has studied and worked abroad in both Thessaloniki, Greece, and Salvador, Brazil. He also recently completed a Masters in International Crime and Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
AmeriCorps, Lauren

Lauren Wilson

AmeriCorps Youth & Parent Facilitator
Lauren is a recent graduate of the University of Miami where she majored in Public Health with minors in Spanish and Psychology. She volunteered with communities in Florida as well as Costa Rica and Ghana to build homes and improve infrastructure. Lauren was raised in Northern Virginia and is excited to serve the community she grew up in alongside the rest of the Edu-Futuro team.
Web pics, v.2

Santiago Alfonzo Meza

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Santiago has lived in the Northern Virginia area for over a decade, but he is first and foremost a proud immigrant from Caracas, Venezuela. He is in his last semester at George Mason University, where he is currently double-majoring in Music and Environmental Sustainability Studies. He endeavors to transform his personal experience navigating in the public and higher education school systems into practices that support his community. As a professional student, he always looks forward to learning from his Edu-Futuro family.
AmeriCorps, Lidia

‍‍Lidia Mengistu

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Lidia was born and raised in Eritrea. She came to the U.S. when she was 11 years old. Her undergraduate degree is from Old Dominion University, where she studied Psychology and minored in Human Services. Currently, Lidia is enrolled in George Mason University’s Clinical Counseling Masters program. During her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, drawing, and reading. She is always interested and open to new hobbies, so she's sure the list will expand real soon. Lidia is thrilled to be part of the Edu-Futuro team, and she is looking forward to serving her community.
Selina Mueller

Selina Mueller

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator Roanoke
Selina is a recent graduate of the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, where she studied Political Science and German Literature. During her studies, she gained volunteer experience by serving with several local organizations that concern themselves with providing educational support to immigrant youth. Selina also worked at her university's study abroad center, which allowed her to go on study abroad trips to Canada and Poland, gaining a great amount of insight into different cultures. Being an immigrant herself, Selina is excited to serve students of all backgrounds and to support Edu-Futuro in empowering future leaders. In her free time, Selina likes to read, explore nature, and play with her dog.
Harper Garcia

Harper Garcia

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Harper holds a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland. She is actively involved in the arts and runs her own non-profit arts organization, called PenArts, Inc. Harper is very passionate about connecting with the community and finding ways to unite us all, through creating opportunities for everyone. She is so honored and excited to be serving as an AmeriCorps Member with Edu-Futuro.

Shannen Mitchell

AmeriCorps ELP Facilitator NOVA
Shannen is from Coral Springs, Florida, and received her MA in Education specializing in Curriculum and Instruction from the George Washington University, and BA in English from the University of Florida. She is a Peruvian British American with her mother from Peru and father from England. During her studies, Shannen gained service experience by serving with local and international organizations focused on education inequity. She has a strong passion for mentoring youth regarding academic/college assistance or social-emotional support. During her free time, she enjoys reading mystery novels and crocheting. Shannen is honored and excited to be serving as an AmeriCorps member with Edu-Futuro.

Toni Nadine Castillo

AmeriCorps STEM Facilitator NOVA
Toni is a first-generation Mexican-American and is the first in her family to attend and graduate from a university. She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University. Toni is passionate about bringing social justice and feminist frameworks to STEM education and the STEM workforce.

Crystal Worley

AmeriCorps STEM Facilitator
Crystal is a first-generation Afro-Latina from Fajardo, Puerto Rico. She grew up in Vicksburg, MS and received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Meteorology from Mississippi State University. She spent 3 years as a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Crystal currently lives in Loveland, Colorado, and recently served in AmeriCorps under Colorado COVID-19 Containment Response Corps helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado through contact tracing. She is thrilled each day to be serving with Edu-Futuro where she can share her love of science and help encourage each student to find their passion. When Crystal isn’t serving, she loves to sing, snuggle with her cats, read, and get outside and enjoy the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Norka Morales

Administrative and Operations Coordinator
Norka was born and raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and moved to the U.S. in 2010 along with her daughter. She graduated from the Higher University of San Simon with a Bachelor’s Degree as a Public Accountant. Norka’s past experience at the Airport Administration AASANA in Cochabamba has given her the opportunity to join Edu-Futuro’s team as the Administrative and Operations Coordinator. Norka admires Edu-Futuro’s strong mission and she is always willing to help other immigrants and their communities.

Eduardo López

Development Manager / Línea Directa Producer
Eduardo López is the Founder/Producer of Línea Directa, one of the nation’s longest-running Spanish-language television programs dedicated to Latino public service and community outreach. Since 1990, the weekly series has provided thousands of immigrant families living in the Washington metropolitan area with information on important education, health, legal, and social service issues. The program airs each Saturday morning on the capital region’s leading Spanish-language television station, Telemundo 44. Eduardo is also the co-director of Harvest of Empire, an award-winning documentary focusing on immigration.

Rodrigo Ferro, MBA

Communications & Programs Coordinator - Development Team Member
Born and raised in Colombia, Rodrigo has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, endomarketing, and branding. He combines his experience in the private sector with his knowledge of the Non-Profit world, considering he was the General Manager of the Museum of Modern Art and the Colombia’s Opera for 5 years, besides being Advisor of many Non-Profit and for-profit Organizations in Latin America. Rodrigo is Magister in Marketing Management, and Bachelor in Marketing and Advertising, and now he works with Edu-Futuro supporting the internal and external communications, essential to Edu-Futuro's overall success, besides the support of Programs staff and the data intelligence process as a very important member of our Development Team.

Alexa Mavroidis, MPHIL

Communications & Programs Specialist
Alexa has a Master's degree in Philosophy from Georgetown University. She worked previously at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, a resource and advocacy center for people with disabilities in Northern Virginia. She has experience helping individuals and families secure affordable and accessible housing and has helped individuals move from facility settings back into the community with appropriate supports. Alexa is excited to bring her skills and experience to Edu-Futuro.

Kripa Patwardhan, MPP

Executive Operations Specialist
Kripa attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, followed by the University of Virginia where she majored in French and Foreign Affairs with a concentration in South Asia, followed by George Mason University where she earned an MPP. She has studied abroad in Argentina and France. Kripa substitute taught in Arlington and Fairfax County Public Schools, taught Spanish in Fairfax County Public Schools, and worked as an after-school teacher in a low-income immigrant neighborhood in Reston before joining our team in June 2021. Outside her work at Edu-Futuro, Kripa is passionate about native species plants and urbanism.

Daniel Park

Communications and Programs Specialist - ISU Stevenson Center Peace Corps Fellow
Dani holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from California State University, San Luis Obispo. Seeking to further his education, he was awarded a Master of Arts in Philosophy from California State University, Long Beach. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica as an English teacher in the small town of Nicoya, Guanacaste from 2018-2020. Dani is currently a graduate student for the Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) program in Sociology at Illinois State University. Within sociology specifically, he is concerned with social relations and oppression, and hopes to continue this with a career in academia.

Our Staff   ·   Our Board   ·   Associate Council

Our Board

Jeanne Balcom, Board President (2018-2021) is an innovative leader with over 20 years of experience in international securities market regulation and financial services consulting. She is currently an Executive Principal and the Head of Regulatory Policy at the Options Clearing Corporation. Prior to this role, she served as a Senior Director for International at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, where she spearheaded the founding of the Americas Chapter of the International Forum for Investor Education to share best practices across Latin America and represented FINRA on the Council of Securities Regulators of the Americas. Ms. Balcom holds a bachelor’s degree in Russian Studies from Dartmouth College and a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies and International Economics from the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University. She is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Portuguese. This is Ms. Balcom’s first term on the Board.

Betsy Jaffe, Board Vice President (2018-2021) is a public affairs executive with more than 25 years of experience serving corporations and trade associations.  She is the founder and president of Amplitude Strategies, a strategic communications firm serving the audiovisual industry. Previously Ms. Jaffe served as senior vice president at AVIXA – the Audiovisual Integrated Experience Association where she worked in communications, government affairs, conferences, sales and social media. Her work has been featured in publications including the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the New York Times, USA Today and numerous business journals and trade publications. Ms. Jaffe holds a bachelor’s degree from American University and a master’s degree from George Washington University. This is Ms. Jaffe’s first term on the board.

Chris Falcon, Board Secretary (2018-2021) is the Civil Division Supervisor, Legal Counsel, and Deputy Clerk of the Arlington Circuit Court. He is also the founding attorney and owner of The Falcon Firm PLLC, focusing his practice on business consulting and estate planning. Mr. Falcon serves on the Fairfax County Human Services Council. He was previously appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Virginia Latino Advisory Board, which he served on from 2014-18.  Mr. Falcon received his J.D. from the Widener University Law School and B.B.A. from James Madison University. This is his first term on the board.

Madeline Llopis, Board Treasurer (2021-2024) is a Financial Consultant with Baker Tilly’s Transaction and Financial Advisory Services group. Prior to this role she served as the Controller at a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., and has several years of experience as an auditor for both government entities and publicly held companies. Her roles have included providing detailed analyses of historical and projected financial information to clients, preparing and tracking monthly and annual budgets, and overseeing audit process areas to completion. In addition to her professional career, Ms. Llopis is frequently involved with her Alma Matter, Catholic University, where she participates as a guest lecturer and mentor to current students in the Accounting program. Ms. Llopis is of Panamanian descent, growing up in both Virginia and Oklahoma. She currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia. This is her first term on the board.

Tonia Weik (2020-2023) is a strategic communications professional with 20 years of experience in international affairs. As a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State, she has directed communication and public outreach in multiple countries and regions throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. Also a former English as a Second Language teacher, Ms. Weik is a leader in developing strategies for communicating across cultures. She currently instructs at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. This is her first board term.

Hugh Pace (2021-2024) is the Director of Human Resources for United Income, Capital One’s wealth management technology business. Previously he was responsible for the strategy, design, and delivery of a program that produced thousands of technology hires. Prior to joining Capital One, Hugh held roles at McKinsey & Company and Korn Ferry. Hugh holds an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in Economics. While he was born in Lima, Peru he considers home Mexico City, Mexico where he grew up. Hugh currently resides in Reston, Virginia. This is his first term on the board.

Dr. Marjorie L. Myers (2021-2024) joined our Board of Directors in February of 2021. During her 46-year career in education, she taught Kindergarten through-Higher Education and worked as a Spanish teacher, an ESOL teacher, a bilingual counselor, central office program manager for ELL students, an adjunct professor, an assistant principal, and a principal. She taught and worked as a school administrator in Florida, Georgia, Venezuela, DC, and Virginia. She holds a BA in Secondary Spanish Education from the University of Florida (1972), an MA in bilingual and multicultural education from George Mason University (1985) in Fairfax, VA; has 33 hours of post-graduate coursework in computational and applied linguistics and a Doctorate of Education in Bilingual Special Education from The George Washington University (2009) in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 2018 Dr. Myers was the principal of Francis Scott Key Elementary in Arlington, Virginia. In September of 2012, that School was recognized by the Ministry of Education of Spain as the International Spanish Academy (ISA) “School of the Year 2011.” Dr. Myers is a contributing author in the 2014 Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas book, Creating Dual Language Schools for a Transformed World: Administrators Speak. She is published in other articles and books. In January of 2018, Dr. Myers was awarded La Cruz de Isabel la Católica by King Felipe VI of Spain for a lifetime of promoting Spanish language and culture in the Americas. She retired from APS in July of 2018. The Key School PTA established the Dr. Marjorie L. Myers Scholarship Fund with Edu-Futuro as a legacy fund at her retirement, and to help first-generation college students with educational expenses. The Rotary Club of Arlington awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2018 Edu-Futuro presented a plaque to Dr. Marjorie L. Myers Principal Emerita Francis Scott Key Immersion: The Edu-Futuro Arlington County Community Partner of the Year Award, in grateful recognition of her outstanding efforts and proven success in educating students and others to understand the benefits of communication in more than one language in the context of their diverse cultures, as members of the community and citizens of the world. Dr. Marjorie L. Myers is honored to join our Board of Directors.

Dr. Padmanabhan "Padhu" Seshaiyer (2021-2024) is a tenured Full Professor at George Mason University and a bold visionary leader who combines a strong administrative experience with a successful background in academic research, education, and outreach. He has held several leadership positions including serving as the Associate Dean for the College of Science, Director of STEM Accelerator Program, Director for the Center for Outreach in Mathematics Professional Learning and Educational Technology at GMU, Program Director at the National Science Foundation and most recently being sworn in as one of the STEM advisors to the Governor of Virginia for a newly established VA STEM Advisory Board. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Master’s degree in Mathematics from India and a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and a Post-Doctoral Research Associateship from Texas A&M University. During the last two decades, Dr. Seshaiyer has directed a variety of educational and outreach programs to prepare the next-generation workforce through facilitated pathways, graduate and undergraduate research, K-12 outreach, teacher professional development, and enrichment programs to foster the interest of students and teachers in STEM at all levels. This is his first term on the Board.

Board Volunteers

Celina Penovi recently retired from the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, where she served as Senior Legal Counsel. At MIGA she handled international transactions in countries around the world and interfaces with government authorities on issues relating to foreign investment. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked in law firms in Argentina and San Francisco, California where she received a service award for her pro bono immigration work with Hispanic clients.  She is a strong advocate of bilingual education and has published several bilingual children’s books. Ms. Penovi received her J.D. from the University of Buenos Aires and a Masters of Law in International Transactions (LL.M.) from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. She has served two terms on the board, most recently as Board President.

Robert Panfil has over 30 years of experience working with transportation and infrastructure projects throughout Latin America, South Asia, and the South Pacific regions. During his 25-year career at the World Bank, he undertook sector and program lending and project procurement and supervision. As infrastructure manager in India, he was responsible for the development of one of the World Bank’s largest highway sector lending programs. He also served as senior advisor to the Australian Foreign Aid Agency. Mr. Panfil has a B.S. from the University of Pennsylvania in Finance and an M.S. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin. He has served 3 non-consecutive terms on the Board and has been Treasurer.

Dr. Katharine Panfil has worked in education for over 30 years in the US and abroad, including Venezuela, Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, and Tanzania. During her career with Arlington Public Schools (APS) where she began as an ESOL teacher, she was Foreign Language Supervisor, Principal of Key Elementary School where she led the development of APS Spanish language immersion program, and Principal of Randolph Elementary School at the time it became the first Primary Years Program of the International Baccalaureate in a public school in the DC metro area. Dr. Panfil holds a Ph.D. in Education from George Mason University. She has served 4 non-consecutive terms on the Board and has been the President and Vice-President.

Dr. Phillip Church, Board Vice President (2014-2017, 2017-2020), is Senior Economist at DevTech Systems, Inc. where he provides technical advisory and training assistance on the strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation of USG international development assistance projects and programs. Most recently in Central America, he supervised and trained staff in the monitoring and evaluation of USG grants to organizations working to get child laborers out of work and back into school.  Before joining DevTech, Dr. Church served for 25 years as a Foreign Service Economic Officer with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). His international development career has led him to work and live in several Latin American and Asian countries. Dr. Church holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Oregon, an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University, and an A.B. in Economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Church is fluent in Spanish and proficient in French. This is his second term on the Board.

Connie Church was the Director of Finance and Administration for the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) until her retirement in 2009. At APTR she was responsible for all accounting, financial reporting to the board and government partners, human resources, and office administration. She is currently a tax accountant for private clients. Ms. Church grew up in Mexico and lived and worked abroad for several years; in Bangladesh, she served as Vice President of the American International School Board; in Guatemala, she was the co-founder and treasurer of an adoption agency. Ms. Church holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University and an M.A. in Accounting from George Washington University. She has served two terms on the Board, part of that time as Board Treasurer.

Cara Santos Pianesi has helped organizations communicate clearly to garner attention for issues of international development for more than 20 years. She is currently a Communications Lead at the World Bank Group. She previously worked at the United Nations Development Program, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Amnesty International. She moved to Alexandria, VA from Miami where she concentrated on private-sector communications vis-à-vis Latin America with Foote, Cone, and Belding. Cara has a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a B.A. in International Studies and Economics from the University of Miami.

Our Staff   ·   Our Board   ·   Associate Council

Associate Council

Zachary Paget (Chair) (2018) grew up in southwest Virginia and moved to Arlington after graduating from the University of Virginia, where he studied Information Technology and Finance with a minor in Spanish. Zachary currently works for Accenture as a Technology Specialist, where he uses his educational background to solve problems at the intersection of technology and business for the federal government. During college, Zachary took part in many extracurricular activities, including being the President of the 250-person University Salsa Club while also helping to organize Madison House’s ESOL program, where UVA students provided tutoring to younger students for whom English was a second language. In between years of college, Zachary spent a summer working for a nonprofit in the Dominican Republic and another working for a litigation consulting firm in D.C. When not working, Zachary is often running, playing soccer, or traveling to a country where he can practice his Spanish. He is currently serving his second year as Chair of the Associate Council.

Tran Tran (2018) arrived in the U.S. at 16 from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and was the first in her family to attend an American university. Tran graduated from Louisiana State University in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and minors in Business and International Studies. During this time, she spent one semester as an exchange student at La Universidad de Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her experience as a first-generation college graduate in the U.S., along with an interest in exploring and bridging cultures, forms the basis of her social mission to empower immigrant communities across backgrounds through education. Tran is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and currently works as a consultant at CrossCountry Consulting, based in Tysons, VA.

Karina Sandoval (2019) is a native of Northern Virginia and grew up in the Fairfax County Public School System. She later attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism. While in college, Karina worked as a reporter for the campus news channel and interned at news stations in Baton Rouge, LA, and Washington, DC. Since graduating, she has worked with various nonprofit associations as a communications and marketing coordinator. As a member of the Associate Council, Karina hopes to use her nonprofit experience and communications background to help further Edu-Futuro’s reach in the local community. She currently works as a Communications Coordinator for the American Foreign Service Protective Association and will begin working toward her Masters's in Public Administration from her beloved LSU in the Fall of 2021. Outside of work, she enjoys freelance reporting, baking, Pilates, playing guitar, and volunteering for Edu-Futuro programs and events.

AC 2019 Rick 150x150 1Rick Alcantara (2020) was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to Northern Virginia in 1989. He graduated from Stone Bridge High School in Loudoun County, VA. Upon graduating, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he served for the next six years. He graduated from George Mason University with a B.S. in Business Management in 2012. Upon graduating from college, Rick went on to work for Microsoft and Amazon Web Services before moving to the construction and commercial property development industry. He is a certified PMP and currently works as a Project Manager for IDI Group in Arlington, Virginia.

Adriana Thornton (2020) grew up in Arlington, VA but has roots in Cochabamba, Bolivia. In 2016 she was the first in her family to graduate from a U.S. college with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Spanish. Adriana currently works at the PEN/Faulkner Foundation as the Senior Education Programs Coordinator, Nuestras Voces. In this role, she supports the coordination and development of the organization’s education programming; with an emphasis on amplifying Latinx voices in the Nuestras Voces program, a bilingual education initiative. Previously Adriana taught 5th Grade English Language Arts Teacher in Brooklyn, NY, and served as an AmeriCorps ELP I Facilitator at Edu-Futuro. Adriana has supported the educational, social, and emotional development and growth of all the students she has had the privilege of working with. Outside of work, Adriana enjoys baking, reading, and taking long walks with her dog, Pebbles.

Anjna Nair (2021) is a Northern Virginia native and a proud Indian American. Growing up in the Fairfax County Public School system and with two immigrant parents, she was introduced to a wide variety of cultures, forming the basis of her passion for promoting diversity and supporting education. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in April 2020 with a B.S. in Molecular Biology Biochemistry, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in Digital Media. She focused her studies on the intersection between science, business, and public health and is currently working for Adaptive Phage Therapeutics, a small clinical-stage company, where she conducts phage therapy research. In her professional and personal life, she has shown herself to be motivated, analytical, and a well-rounded team player. In her free time, Anjna enjoys digital art and photography, archery, and deciding future travel destinations.

Daniel Sosa (2021) graduated from the University of Virginia in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and a minor in Economics. Immediately after graduating, he enrolled in UVA’s Masters in Commerce program where he concentrated on marketing and management and embarked on an international business experience across Greater China. Daniel began his consulting career with Accenture Federal Services and is now a Senior Analyst aligned to the analytics practice working on Tableau dashboard development for USDA. Before serving on the Associate Council Daniel was an ELP I mentor in 2020. In his free time, Daniel enjoys watching and playing soccer, working out, and traveling.

Dashana Flores (2021) is a graduate of Marymount University, where she majored in Mass Communication with a concentration in journalism, obtained a digital media certification along with a minor in public relations. Dashana currently works for Inova Health systems for an HIV grant-funded program that focuses on assisting low-income individuals with medication, housing, dental, substance abuse, and mental health services. Dashana is passionate about helping others and finds joy in what she does day to day. With her passion and educational background, she hopes to contribute her experience and communication outreach skills to promote Edu-Futuro mission. Outside of work, Dashana indulges in trying out different restaurants in the DMV area for the aesthetic and cuisine, and also enjoys photography, going hiking with her dog Max, tutoring middle school students in Spanish, and drawing.


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