Promoting Latino Education! Shaping the Future!
Call Us: (919) 467-8424

Staff Profiles


Caroline Veloso Oliveira 

Caroline was born in Brazil. She has moved between Brazil and the United States many times throughout the years. Caroline earns a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from the New York Chiropractic College. After moving from New York to North Carolina, she worked for the North Carolina State University as a Program Assistant to implement the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. She has extensive experience in collaborating with community and state-level organization to deliver a variety of state-funded health and education programs to a diverse audience throughout North Carolina. In addition, has successfully collaborated with the El Refugio, a non-profit organization assisting the Hispanic population in Lee County, and has been an active member in a number of public committees aiming for positive changes in the community. Besides her efforts to promote education among the Hispanic/Latin community, Caroline is passionate about different cultures and learning new languages.

Maria Lopez
Program Coordinatorstaff-Maria

Maria was born in Michoacan, Mexico but moved to Chicago, IL when she was 2.  She is a graduate of the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies. Maria spent 7 years working for the Latino non-profit organization, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago, which produces the annual Chicago Latino Film Festival and other year-round cultural events. Maria served as the Programming Director & Operations Manager of the Festival. She traveled to Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, and Chile to attend festivals and scout films to bring to the Chicago Latino Film Festival. Maria recently moved to Durham, North Carolina and has been trying to adjust to her life in a smaller city. Maria is looking forward to working with the Latino community, especially the youth, in North Carolina through her role as Program Coordinator for The NCSHP. She deeply believes in the importance of providing resources to help Latino students succeed in the classroom and in life and feels very fortunate to have joined The NCSHP team. When not working on promoting education among the Hispanic/Latino community, Maria likes to watch movies, try new restaurants, and relax with her boyfriend and dog.

Arisha Guerra
Communications and Marketing Intern 60291834_1160805630794518_7033675646383423488_n

A native of North Carolina and raised in Cary, Arisha never let go of her Latin-American roots and stays engaged with the Hispanic/Latino community in Wake County. She is part Peruvian (mother) and part Guatemalan (father). She is a graduate of the Wake Early College Program that tracked her toward a degree in health and science professions and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree.  She took a pause from her schooling in 2016 to serve an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints where she served among Spanish-speaking immigrant families and refugees. Arisha is a licensed Zumba instructor and teaches Aqua Zumba in the Cary area.  She also supports the arts and served as a Program Assistant at Diamante Art and Cultural Center. When not busy with her studies and work, she enjoys baking, traveling, photography, and spending time with family and friends.

Sonja Escamilla
Graduate Coach11221172_1083185538365144_1885066965_o copy

Sonja grew up in the Raleigh area and completed her K-12 education in the Wake County Public School System. She gets her last name from her Mexican grandfather who immigrated to the US when he was a teenager. When Sonja was growing up, both of her parents spoke Spanish as a second language and shared an appreciation of Hispanic culture, which led to Sonja choosing at the age of 11 to start learning Spanish in school. She went to college in Kentucky and during those years spent the summers working with people from other cultures both in the US and in other countries (Guatemala and Ghana).  She graduated from Berea College in 2012 where she received a degree in Elementary Education. Following college, she spent two years as a bilingual crisis counselor at a Rape Crisis Center in Lexington, KY. She served in the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, and returned to the Raleigh area in 2017. She is currently working alongside Glendy Rodriguez as a coach in the Graduate program at Millbrook and Cary high schools. Sonja is excited to work for the NCSHP with such a dynamic team!

Brian PostIMG_3188
Graduate Coach

Coach Brian is a native of Raleigh and was always an active athlete and Eagle Scout.  Brian graduated from Enloe High School in 2004.  He attended Appalachian State University and was a member of the swim and cycling teams.  In 2009, Brian graduated from ASU with a degree in History, Secondary Education.  His first three years of teaching he spent in the Dominican Republic, where he taught history, geography and consumer mathematics at a bilingual K-12 school.  After getting married in 2012, Brian and his wife moved to the United States where they both have taught Spanish and pursued higher education degrees.  Brian joined ¡Gradúate! in 2015.

“I have loved teaching various subjects over the years.  However, success coaching has been a very unique and personal experience in encouraging Hispanic youth to excel in all of their endeavors.”     

Coach Brian

Samantha Alvarado
Graduate Assistant Coach

Samantha was born in Santa Ana, California and went to school in Chatham County, NC. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in May 2019, where she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and a minor in Political Science. During college she worked for the CAMINOS research lab and is also currently working for the Development, Culture, and Health lab. Her interests include the development of cultural and social concepts and how they influence the way people think and make decisions. In the future, Samantha hopes to attend graduate school and publish a research paper.


Winnie Okwakol

Winnie OkwakolWinnie is originally from Uganda, Africa but has been in the U.S for 17 years. She graduated from Wake Tech in May of 2015 with an Advertising and Graphic Design degree. Winnie is currently working as a Freelancer which has allowed her to utilize her love and knowledge of art/design to communicate the ideas of her clients effectively. When she’s not designing, Winnie is sharpening her photography skills, painting, or finding a new Netflix series to indulge in.


North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals
8450 Chapel Hill Road, Suite 209
Cary, NC 27513

Phone: (919) 467-8424
Fax: (919) 469-1785