CCASCA began as an idea floated around by CC alumni of color in Denver, Colorado. Our inaugural meeting was held in December of 2012 with alumni in Denver. We then met with CC students to discuss the relevance and need for alumni of color involvement on campus.
CCASCA is open to all CC constituents who are interested in joining us. Our focus is students and alumni of color. We want to represent national and international constituents. What makes us different from other alumni associations is that we support and need current student involvement.
CCASCA's Executive Board
Aurora Terrazas (Class of 2014), Co-Chair
Growing up, I thought higher education was not an option for me. I was at risk of continuing the cycle of poverty and meeting every debilitating statistic. My grandmother, teachers, and mentors pushed me to do well in school, provided safety, and kept me engaged. These individuals believed that higher education was not only an option, but a means to empowerment. As a first generation college graduate and second generation Mexican-American and Chamorro-American, obtaining my degree in sociology from Colorado College has played a critical role in shaping my aspirations for my community and career.
With this education, I refuse[d] to accept that I was an exception to success while individuals in my community continued to fall victim to social barriers. By reinvesting my education back to my community through non-profits and direct services, I am able to serve and empower hundreds of individuals in the community through resources and education. I will be attending graduate school in the fall of 2017 for Public Administration so that I can continue serving underrepresented communities.
I would not be where I am today without the support from the individuals that invested in me. Therefore, I truly believe in what CCASCA can provide for students at Colorado College. Furthermore, CCASCA’s mission aligns with what I will always and continue to do which is educate and empower people of color. I am honored and privileged to be a part of a dynamic executive board and look forward to future of CCASCA.
Joel Begay (Class of 2014), Co-Chair
Yá'át'ééh! Hello from Ann Arbor, Michigan! My name is Joel and I am originally from Shiprock, NM. I am an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship, I graduated from CC in 2014 with a BA in Biochemistry. Throughout my CC experience, I developed and solidified my interest in science, research, and medicine I'm currently a graduate student at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, pursuing an MPH in Hospital & Molecular Epidemiology. Following my graduate program, I plan on attending medical school to become an MD/MPH, in an attempt to find a delicate balance between seeing patients (clinician) and conducting clinical research.
In addition to my studies, I am a Graduate Student Research Assistant in the Department of Neurology at Michigan Medicine, serve on the Graduate/Professional Student Advisory Board for the University of Michigan's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan, as well as the Officer of Alumni Relations for the Gates Millennium Scholars at the University of Michigan. I am excited to serve as the Co-Chair of CCASCA and I am eager to work and connect with alumni and students of color. Together, we can ensure the academic and professional success of all CCASCA members.
Alejandro Salazar (Class of 2016), Treasurer
I’m the eldest of four from parents who made countless sacrifices so that I could have the opportunities they could not. I got my first exposure to college through the Southwest Scholars Program, a program that introduced first generation students from the Southwest to Colorado College. I fell in love with the school and was fortunate enough to be selected as an El Pomar Scholar paving the way to my CC experience. Throughout my time at CC I was a Residential Advisor of Slocum, a co-chair of SOMOS, a Bridge Scholar Mentor, Student Body President, the Vice President for Finance, the New York Times delivery man, and much more. My academic passions took a similar variety, touching nearly every department but finally landing in Neuroscience. Post graduation I worked at T. Rowe Price for just a few months until I had the fortune of coming back to CC as an Admission Counselor / Coordinator. I’m not certain what my career holds in store for me, but it means the world to me that I can pass forward the opportunities I had to other deserving students.
Tram Ha (Class of 2014), Secretary
Hi everyone! I graduated from Colorado College in 2014 and majored in History-Philosophy. I am originally from Springfield, Missouri, but now call Denver home. At CC, I took full advantage of study abroad opportunities and took classes in many disciplines before settling on my major. I loved my liberal arts education on the block plan. After graduating, I moved to Denver and pursued job opportunities that allowed me to learn about the different ways I could serve my community. Currently, I am a paralegal at a non-profit that advocates for individuals with disabilities. I plan to pursue a legal education in the near future. I have really loved being involved in the Denver community since graduating and serving on the CCASCA Executive Board has allowed me to contribute to the CC community.
Martha Wolday (Class of 2014), Outreach Coordinator
Aracely Navarro (Class of 2018), Student Liaison
Are you interested in getting involved with CCASCA? Please let us know by sending an inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org!
We welcome new participants for students and alumni to become involved both on and off campus!
Johanna Leyba (Class of 1994)
Ms. Johanna Leyba is a native of Denver, Colorado. She earned a BA in Sociology with an emphasis in ethnic and urban studies from Colorado College in 1994, with a thesis on Identity Formation of Mexican Origin People Living in the United States. In 2002, she earned a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning with an emphasis in Community Development from the University of Colorado at Denver. She recently began course work in the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education to work toward earning an EdD.
Johanna began her professional career in the nonprofit sector working for 11 years managing and developing programs and organizations focused on women and youth development, employment and training, healthcare for the uninsured, college access and leadership development of Latinas. She later served as nonprofit management consultant facilitating strategic planning, fund development and program development, program evaluation and executive leadership support. Lastly, Johanna served on a number of local political campaigns to elect Latinas to public office.
She joined the University of Denver in 2004 as the Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence, where she assisted in the growth and development of the Center. In January of 2008, Johanna became the Assistant Provost for Inclusive Excellence which evolved into a focus on Campus and Community, through which she helped support and coordinate cross campus partnerships to advance an inclusive agenda at DU. She also worked to build new and strengthen existing relationships between DU and historically underrepresented communities in the Metro Denver area. Some of her most recent accomplishments include having led an effort to administer a campus climate survey and establishing the new Staff of Color Association. Currently, Johanna oversees the Inclusive Excellence Fellow Program, Inclusive Excellence Collective, the Annual Diversity Summit and supports the various women focused organizations on campus. In July of 2015 Johanna stepped in to serve as the Acting Associate Vice Chancellor for Inclusive Excellence helping guide the merger between the Center for Multicultural Excellence and the Division of Student Life.
Nancy Hernandez (Class of 1996)
Hi! I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and attended Colorado College where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. After working in various Denver nonprofits, including the Gill Foundation, Clinica Tepeyac and the Colorado Parent Information and Resource Center, I earned a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management at Regis University. I served for seven years as a Program Officer with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund where I provided outreach and retention services to students and helped families navigate the higher education process. I was also the Community and Education Facilitator for School District Adams 50 in Westminster, Colorado. I developed and delivered programs and presentations to inform and engage families on postsecondary and workforce opportunities available to students. I am currently a doctoral student in the Educational Leadership, Research and Policy Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
In my spare time, I help organize the Keeping the Dream Alive Conference that provides information on how to help undocumented students who want to go to college. I am also a Board member of the Chinook Fund, and was co-founder of the Colorado College Alumni and Students of Color Association (CCASCA).
I really enjoy talking with people about college, career and life in general. If you want to reach me, you can e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at 720-988-4326. I am also on LinkedIn and Facebook. Looking forward to connecting!
Jason Clark (Class of 2007)
Jason currently works at the University of Colorado Denver where he directs undergraduate and graduate admissions and outreach for the School of Education & Human Development. He has a MA in Higher Education from the University of Denver and a BA in Romance Languages and Literature from Colorado College. Originally from Spanish Harlem in New York City, he has been in Colorado for 15 years. Prior to his current work with CU Denver, Jason worked for the Denver Scholarship Foundation as college advisor and retention manager and as a Spanish high school teacher in Colorado Springs. As first-generation college student, Jason is passionate about college access and success. He currently serves on the board of the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation and is a founding member of the Colorado College Alumni and Students of Color Association.