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Professional Staff

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Elvira Prieto

Associate Dean of Students and Director of El Centro Chicano y Latino

Photo of Elvira Prieto.

Elvira was born and raised in California’s Central San Joaquin Valley working alongside her parents and siblings in the grape fields and fruit packing sheds of Reedley, CA and surrounding communities in Fresno County. She is the first woman in her family to attend college, receiving her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Elvira has worked in higher education, student affairs, academic advising, policy analysis and implementation, and community-based education for almost 30 years. Elvira is also a writer and poet who self-published a memoir-style manuscript about her journey: "An (Im)possible Life." Elvira began writing poetry and prose twenty five years ago, due in large part to the encouragement and mentorship of her dear friend and teacher, Renato I. Rosaldo, Lucie Stern Professor in the Social Sciences, Emeritus at Stanford University. Her writing is focused on the retelling of life recuerdos (memories) with the intention of creating spaces of light, love, and healing for individuals and community.

Elvira has presented her poetry and prose in various community and academic settings such as floricantos and conferences hosted at the University of Texas at Austin, San Jose State University, and Stanford University. Elvira has also shared her professional expertise at a mentorship workshop for undergraduate and graduate students at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

In 2010, Elvira was the recipient of the Staff Member of the Year Award from La Raza Staff Association at Stanford University. Most recently, Elvira was named 2018 Fidler Award Winner.

Margaret Sena, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean of Students and Associate Director, Graduate Student Engagement 

Margaret comes from a Mexican-American family with roots in northern New Mexico. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and was the first in her family to attend college. She earned her B.A. in History at the University of California at Berkeley. She later earned both an M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Princeton University. Her historical research focused on religious politics and the history of Catholicism in early modern England. She has taught courses on various aspects of European and comparative religious history as a lecturer, but found her true passion in working in student affairs. She brings her background as a researcher and instructor along with a deep commitment to the academic, professional, and leadership development of the Chicanx/Latinx graduate student community to her work at El Centro, where she has been creating programs for graduate students and directing the Graduate-Scholars-in-Residence Program since 2009. Outside of El Centro, Margaret has served on the VPGE Diversity Steering Commitee, on the Fulbright selection committee, the Graduate Diversity and Recruitment (GRAD) Day Planning Committee, and as a member of Stanford's Graduate Diversity Staff Council, for which she currently serves as co-chair. She is also currently the President of the Association of Latino Princeton Alumni. 

Jacob Velasquez

Assistant Director of El Centro Chicano y Latino

Jacob joined El Centro in Fall 2019 as the third addition to the professional staff team. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he is the son of immigrant parents from Mexico and the first in his family to attend College. He began his undergraduate career at Los Angeles Mission Community College where he transfered to the University of California, Santa Cruz to complete his B.A. in Politics combined with Latin American & Latino Studies. Jacob credits his passion for student affairs to his involvement with the Resource Centers during his undergraduate career at UCSC. His experience working at Higher Education institutions focuses on  supporting and advocating for the needs of underrepresented and underserved communities. 

Jacob completed his M.A. in Organizational Leadership in Higher Education from the University of San Francisco. His work is centered on Cultural Centers and Undocumented/Dream Resource Centers within Higher Education Institutions and their roles in shaping a more diverse and equitable campus culture.