We succeed because of our amazing College Access and Success Advisors

Meet the College Access and Success Advisors who provide the 5 key services to students and their families.

Arlin Yazzie

Lead College Access and Success Advisor – Road to Success

Arlin Yazzie joined the San Antonio Education Partnership in October of 2018 as a College Access and Success Advisor with the Road to Success team.  She is currently serving 3 local high schools.
Arlin was born on the Navajo Reservation and was raised in New Mexico and Colorado.  She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Fort Lewis College.  
She has a passion for educating students with the knowledge on how to navigate their high school academic career in the hopes of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree with as little cost as possible.  
In her downtime, she enjoys photography, specialty coffee tasting, hiking, and venturing out with her two dogs.

210-207-4775

Mayra Barrera

Lead College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege

Mayra Barrera joined cafécollege in October of 2013, as a College Access and Success Advisor.

Prior to joining the Partnership, she gained experience in college admissions process as well as financial aid during her 5 years experience with the TRIO Program for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Ms. Barrera is originally from Eagle Pass, Texas, yet made the move to Houston, then San Antonio to pursue her academic career.

Ms. Barrera received her Associate’s of Arts degree from Lone Star College–CyFair then transferred to and graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with a Bachelor’s of Science.

As a first-generation college student, she is familiar with what other first-generation college and transfer students may encounter. This knowledge comes in helpful when she advises students with similar situations. She is also eager to help students and/or parents who would need translation services in Spanish.

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mbarrera@saedpartnership.org

Justin Aguilar

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

Justin Aguilar was born and raised on the Southside of San Antonio. He is a graduate of South San high school and earned an Associate of Liberal Arts at Palo Alto College. Justin is currently working on completing his Bachelor’s Degree in multi-disciplinary studies at UTSA. Justin is a first-generation college student that strives to help everyone. He believes that a “Can Do” attitude can anyone’s dreams come true. Justin loves music and singing his heart out. He is typically writing music, singing or humming away throughout the day. He also likes to quote movies and talk about random pop culture.

210-207-4777

McCollum

Johnson

Reagan

Ryan Cardenas

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

Ryan Cardenas is a life long resident of the south side of San Antonio. He graduated from Harlandale High School and is an SAEP scholarship recipient. He is the first person in his family to graduate from college. Ryan is working towards a Masters in Business Administration at Texas A&M San Antonio. His previous working experience at Palo Alto College revealed a passion for helping others. Ryan feels that by sharing his experiences in college, he can help other students achieve their higher education goals. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys staying active and playing flag football.

210-207-4782

John Jay

Southside

Southwest

Clarissa Castañeda

College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege

Clarissa Castañeda joined cafécollege in July of 2019 as a College Access and Success Advisor. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas she moved to San Antonio to attend Trinity University where she earned her B.A. in Political Science, International Studies and Spanish and minored in Communication and History. Prior to joining the Partnership, she served as the AdviseTexas College Adviser at Harlandale High School with the Trinity University College Advising Corps chapter. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a first generation college graduate, Clarissa is passionate about helping all students achieve their educational and professional goals and empowering students and their families through education. A fun fact about Clarissa is that she traveled to 24 cities in Spain while she was studying abroad her senior year of college.

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Taylor Cole

College Access and Success Advisor -Road to Success

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Ana Delgado

College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege

Ana is an intake specialist at cafécollege. She is a native San Antonio, Texan and attended the University of the Incarnate Word. At UIW she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. Previously she taught high school science courses and very much enjoyed working with her students. She loves her faith, family, friends, education and sweet tea. Ana is delighted to be a part of the cafécollege team and working for her community.

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Gabriel Diamante

College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege

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Britney Esparza

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

Britney Esparza was born and raised on the Southside of San Antonio. She is a recent graduate of Texas A&M – San Antonio, where she majored in education. Britney is excited to continue mentor and coach students through their educational and career decision journey. She understands how positive mentors make all the difference in a student’s life. was born and raised on the Southside of San Antonio. She is a recent graduate of Texas A&M – San Antonio, where she majored in education. Britney is excited to continue mentor and coach students through their educational and career decision journey. She understands how positive mentors make all the difference in a student’s life.

210-207-4764

Harlandale

Taft

Jefferson

Soleil Gaffner

Intake Specialist – cafécollege

Soleil joined cafécollege in August 2019 as the Intake Specialist. Just before joining the team, Soleil graduated from Trinity University, where she majored in Communication and Spanish. She spent her time working for the university newspaper and in the Trinity University Latinx Association. Originally hailing from Virginia, Soleil has become passionate about San Antonio culture and people. She is excited to dedicate her time to helping students achieve their higher education goals.

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Sarah Gonyea

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

Sarah Gonyea is a recent addition to the College Access and Success Adviser team with the SAEP. She is originally from Michigan and received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from Michigan State University in 2017.
Upon graduation, she served with the Michigan State University College Advising Corps (MSUCAC) as a College Adviser.
Ms. Gonyea is excited to continue her work in the college access movement. Being a first-generation college student herself, she feels fortunate to be able to guide similar students through the college-going process. Ms. Gonyea has four cats.

210-207-4780

Memorial

Madison

Fox Tech

Sydney Franklin

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

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Chanaè Galloway

College Access and Success Advisor – Road to Success

Chanae Galloway joined San Antonio Education Partnership in June 2019. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she graduated as a first generation college student from The University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She was involved in many service projects on campus and spent her spare time volunteering and giving back to the Eastside of San Antonio, a home away from home. She unexpectedly discovered her passion for education when she served two consecutive years with City Year San Antonio, an Americorps program working to combat and lower dropout rates. Serving in a math classroom with students opened her eyes to the many inequities that are present in the education system. After struggling with math in her school days, she is considering being a math teacher for a few years to encourage students to not be intimidated by mathematics. She hopes to apply for graduate school next year and even establish her own non-profit in the near future. In her downtime, she loves hanging out with her dog, Atlas and going to music festivals.

210-207-4786

Lee

Roosevelt

Highlands

Sam Houston

Nayeli Gomez

College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege

Nayeli Gomez joined the San Antonio Education Partnership in August 2017 as the Intake Specialist and is now a College Access and Success Advisor. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and loves that she can give back and serve immigrant and first-generation students through her position at cafécollege.

She is originally from El Monte, California and made the move to San Antonio in 2006 where she completed her high school and college education. Nayeli graduated from Wagner High School and received her Bachelor’s of Art in Mathematics from Texas A&M University-San Antonio in 2016 and is working on her Master’s in Applied Statistics at UTSA.

She has extensive data experience; she was District 23’s Data Director for the Texas Democratic Party during the 2016 federal election cycle. Nayeli also served as the Director of Operations for the San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement (SAIYM) for four years.

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Angela Hernandez

College Access and Success Advisor - cafecollege

Angela Hernandez joined the San Antonio Education Partnership in March of 2018. Ms. Hernandez is a San Antonio native and is a recipient of the SAEP scholarship.

She is a first-generation college student, who earned her BA in Communication Arts from The University of the Incarnate Word in 2016.

In her spare time, Angela enjoys caring for the newest addition to her family and taking frequent day trips.

 

210-207-4789

Zach Magallanez

College Access and Success Advisor – cafécollege

Zack Magallanez is a proud native of San Antonio, Texas. He is a first-generation college graduate from Texas A&M University-San Antonio and is currently a Public Administration graduate student at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Public Policy. He has worked for various nonprofits in San Antonio relating to education, civic engagement, digital equity and inclusion, and affordable housing. He believes that each and every student should have access to higher educational opportunities and resources. Zack enjoys being active in his community, sports, walking his pup, and freshly brewed coffee. Fun fact: he has run two marathons and plans to one day compete in the Boston Marathon.

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Rachel Maldonado

College Access and Success Advisor – Road to Success

Rachel E Maldonado has her Associates Degree from San Antonio College and her Bachelor’s Degree from Trinity University. She also completed 9 hours at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for her Teacher’s Certification.  Ms. Maldonado has been the in the field of college admissions, recruiting and financial aid for 29 years.  She currently is College Access and Success Advisor for the San Antonio Education Partnership since 2009.  She enjoys working with students and parents in opening the doors to higher education.  A fun fact she climbed Mt Sinai and rode a camel.

210-207-4783

Fatima Montez

College Access and Success Advisor – Road to Success

Fatima was born and raised in San Antonio, is a graduate of Burbank High School and the University of Notre Dame, and also a Spurs fan. She was a first gen college student, so college and career advising is a subject she is very passionate about. Fatima worked at cafécollege after graduating from college, transitioned to admissions and recruiting, and is now back at the San Antonio Education Partnership to work with students as they prepare for their next chapter.

210-207-4788

Harlandale STEM

Holmes

Burbank

Ilse Reyes

College Access and Success Advisor - cafécollege/Upgrade

Ilse Reyes is a College Access and Success Advisor with the San Antonio Education Partnership through the program Upgrade. She initiated her career in the nonprofit sector after studying business at St. Mary’s University. After graduating college she served two years with AmeriCorps through City Year, a nonprofit organization that works with at-risk students in the following areas: attendance, behavior, and coursework. Following her years of service with City Year, she accepted a College Advisor position with AVID, an organization that promotes college readiness and higher education. Through her career, Ilse has worked with more than 150 high school students, throughout the city of San Antonio, in their transition to post-secondary education. Ilse enjoys supporting those with their educational goals and will be working with the Upgrade program as a College Access & Success Advisor to returning adults.

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Rosemary Rodriguez

College Access and Success Advisor - Road to Success

Rosemary Rodriguez is born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She is a graduate of Southside High School and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications from Texas A&M University-San Antonio. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she balanced working two jobs; one at Palo Alto College in different departments such as Admissions & Records, the Welcome Center and the HSI SEEDS STEM Grant and the other working at Cox Media Group for four years.

Rosemary is a first generation student and believes “You can do anything you set your mind to.” She is dedicated to helping students achieve their goals while making their dreams a reality. She joined the San Antonio Education Partnership because she believes there is no such thing as a road block to a student’s success.

A fun fact about Rosemary to know is her dance moves. She likes to dance like no one is watching. She was on the Red Jackets Dance team at her high school for three years. She was the Captain her junior year and made Colonel her senior year.

210-207-4779

Kennedy

Stevens

Brackenridge

Luis Sanchez

College Access and Success Advisor – Road to Success

Elizabeth Velarde

City of San Antonio Liaison – Upgrade

Elizabeth Velarde​ is originally from Dallas, TX and moved to San Antonio in September. She received a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Studies in 2012 from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX. Ms. Velarde also received a Master’s in Public Health in 2018 from the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth, TX.
Between earning two degrees, she served as the community educator for a non-profit in Dallas focused on preventing child abuse in Dallas County.
The majority of her experience comes from working in various non-profit organizations.
Outside of work, she enjoys watching movies, reading, and spending time with her daughter exploring San Antonio.

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