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Latin@/X Center Staff

Please stop by and meet the team at the CSUSM Latin@ Center, USU 3300 

Dr. Lara

Dr. Renzo Lara
Latin@/x Center Director

Dr. Renzo Lara was born in San Diego, California and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. At the age of 10, he moved with his mother to the United States and has called Chula Vista,California his home. Dr. Lara’s upbringing between the international border of Mexico and United States provided life experiences related to transborder identities. Additionally, Dr. Lara is a first generation college student and has overcome societal as well collegial barriers. Dr. Lara’s cultural upbringing and life experiences has led to his passion which lies in assisting Latin@/x students and family members achieve holistic success. 

Dr. Lara transferred from Southwestern College and earned his B.A., M.A., and Ed.D. from San Diego State University. Dr. Lara has over a decade of experience in: educational programming, event planning, research and assessment, inclusive excellence curriculum design, multicultural community work and higher education collaborative partnership building. In addition, Dr. Lara is passionate about social justice advocacy and higher educational equity for underrepresented students and marginalized students of color. In his spare time, Dr. Lara likes to spend quality time with his three children and partner, enjoys watching soccer games,and loves to engage in dialogue related to the sci-fi genre or star wars.  

Laura Lopez, M.A.
Centro Intercultural Specialist 

Laura was born and raised in the Inland Empire. Her mother was raised in Jalisco, Mexico and her father grew up in Pomona, CA. She had a unique upbringing with her parents’ combined life experience from two different countries which has added to her identity as a second generation citizen. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a B.A. in Studio Art . She was heavily involved working with first year students advising them on college readiness skills, building feasible career goals, and inspiring holistic wellbeing. Her undergraduate involvements with learning communities and orientation inspired her to work in Higher Education. 

Laura earned her M.A. in Postsecondary Educational Leadership from San Diego State University. She is passionate about serving students from all walks of life. In her free time Laura loves to read YA Fantasy and hopes to build a personal library one day. She also enjoys photography and always looks for a good photo opportunity.

Laura Lopez

Mayra Canchola

Cultura STEM Coordinator

Mayra Canchola was born in Whittier, CA to Mexican-immigrant parents. Although sharing special childhood memories within East L.A., they call Escondido home. Growing up, she always had a passion for learning and being a sense of comfort to others. Deeply impacted by being questioned about their identity and unsure of their place, Mayra values the importance of intersectionality. Growing up as the oldest daughter in a low-income, Latine household guides Mayra’s mantra, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.”

Mayra earned their B.A. in Psychological Science with a minor in Women’s Studies from CSUSM and is now serving as the center’s Cultura STEM Coordinator. Their passion for education has spurred their hope to engage with Latine students in STEM and help them find community and support through validation. In her spare time, Mayra enjoys nature walks, quality time with friends, and outshining everyone at karaoke.

Isabel Torres

Isabel Torres
Cultura STEM Specialist 

Isabel was born in Tijuana Baja California, Mexico but soon migrated to San Diego where she was raised. Isabel has lived in San Ysidro for 23 years now and is proud to call this place her home. Living in a border-town helped Isabel understand many of the disadvantages the Latinx community faces on a daily basis and has inspired her to go to college to hopefully one day go back to her community and make a change. 

Being a first generation student of color has not been easy, but she recently graduated from CSUSM with a B.A. in Sociology and will now serve as a Cultura STEM Specialist here at the LXC. Her goal is to make everyone feel welcomed and to hopefully have STEM students visit the center because here you can find the support you need. Some of Isabel's hobbies are going to the beach, enjoying the sunset, and going on walks. She looks forward to being back on campus and meeting all of you! 


2022-2023 Cultura Educators