Our Mission

Increase college enrollment and completion among Latino youth who are first in their family to attend college by providing guidance and access to opportunity through education, advocacy, and collaboration. We transform lives by making college dreams a reality for first generation students.

Our Vision

We strive to ensure that all Latino youth have the opportunity to earn a college degree and fulfill their remarkable potential. 

Higher education paves the way for a better and brighter future, especially in a rapidly evolving economy. LUCA seeks to level the playing field by partnering with first-generation Latino youth to help them achieve their dreams. Through advocacy, community education, and student workshops, LUCA promotes college enrollment and prepares students for their journey to graduation.

Planning for college and making college a successful, affordable experience can be a challenge. Our programs educate, guide, and support students through the complex process, including submitting applications, qualifying for financial aid, and admissions. We provide bilingual, culturally-relevant assistance to help Latino students and their families achieve their dreams.

The LUCA Team

Latino U College Access was formed by a group of dedicated and experienced professionals with exemplary careers in non-profit management, business and education.

We each share a commitment and passion to the mission of LUCA. Together with the assistance of volunteers, community partners and collaborators, we are committed to ensuring that Latino youth attain equity and opportunity for a brighter future.

Board of Directors

    Lisa M. Bell Treasurer
    US Bank National Association
    Vice President

    Patricia Bogoya-Bravo
    Executive Director

    Shirley Acevedo Buontempo
    Latino U College Access
    Founder & Chief Executive Officer

    Shawn Edwards
    Bloomberg LP
    Chief Technology Officer

    Al Gutierrez – Chairman
    Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL)
    Managing Director

    Christine Louvet
    Louvet Consulting

    Jane Matluck
    Community Volunteer

    Miguel Mendez
    Morgan Stanley
    Vice President, Diversity & Inclusion

    Stephen Moroney – Vice Chairman
    TD Bank
    SVP, Regional Manager

    Aldo J. Polak
    Chief Investment & Development Officer

    Clara Román
    Houlihan Lawrence
    Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

    Matthew Searles
    Merritt Healthcare Holdings, LLC

    Scott Silverstein
    Yolo Candy
    Chief Executive Officer

    Rodrigo Trelles Zabala
    UBS O'Connor
    Managing Director

    Dalia Valdés
    Julia B Fee Sotheby’s International Realty
    Real Estate Associate Broker


Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, MPA, Founder & CEO
Cosette Gutierrez, Deputy Executive Director
Jessica Timms, Director of Advancement
Julie DelValle Nunn, Operations Manager
Elena Pellegrini, College Access Program Manager
Gabby Camacho, Communications & Volunteer Coordinator
Debbie Shiffman, College Coach Advisor
Marc Finder, Data Administrator
Denisse Gayosso-Lucano, Program Coordinator

Advisory Council

Andrea Beltran Ruggiero, MPA
LUCA Founding Board Member
VP of Community Health
Open Door Family Medial Center

James Cotto
Senior Vice President
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Janine Ting Jansen
Director, People Partner
S&P Global

Laura Martinez
Executive Director
Morgan Stanley

Rafael Palomino
Palomino Restaurant Group
Executive Chef & Proprietor

Hilda H. Polanco, CPA
Founder & CEO
Fiscal Management Associates, LLC

Dr. Rebecca Tekula
Executive Director
Wilson Center for Social Enterprise, Pace University

Joe Torres
News Anchor & Reporter

Nathalie Vanheusden
Global Head – Administrative Services
Oliver Wyman

Cynthia Rivera Weissblum
President & CEO
Edwin Gould Foundation

Intern Opportunities

We welcome and value interns to support our staff and programs.  Interns will gain valuable work experience while helping achieve our mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Latino U College Access a 501 (c) (3) organization?

Latino U College Access is a registered 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Where do you provide services?

We offer workshops and volunteer "college coaching" programs in participating school districts in Westchester County, New York. We are available to host information sessions at other locations when scheduling permits.

How can I refer someone who needs your services?

Please email a request and provide the student's information, grade, school and the town / city they live in to us at info@latinou.org