Belisa Nuñez

The latino policy institute

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College Success Coach

Belisa’s roots are a combination of far and near. After moving to Providence at the age of nine from the Dominican Republic, she continued to deeply connect and identify with her Dominican culture and upbringing. 

As she describes it, “Latinos tend to bring a little extra spice and a different perspective… They are not afraid to speak to you and you give advice as if you were their family from the moment they meet you… Being Latino means having a giant, multicultural, extended family whether you know them or not.”

After realizing how many of her peers did not receive the solid college advising but would instead have their opportunities and access hindered, Belisa realized that this was her calling. As a Latina and a College Success Coach  at the College Crusade of Rhode Island, she feels a moral obligation to help uplift and provide growth opportunities to those with similar backgrounds. 

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Jennifer Gaviria

The latino policy institute

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Clinical Faculty, Collaborative Partnerships for Preventative Mental Health Services

Jennifer grew up in Central Falls and Pawtucket while holding on to her family’s roots in Colombia. Every summer, and nearly every Christmas, growing up was spent in Don Matias, Antioquia.

In 2018, Jennifer became one of the co-founders of the Latino Mental Health Network of RI where they aim to recruit and retain aspiring and current Latinx mental health professionals. “Being Latinx has shaped my work immensely. My work focuses on providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services, decreasing mental health stigma in our community, and encouraging Latinx folks to enter the field of mental health; either as nurses, therapists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychiatrists.”

Today, she works at Thundermist Health Center where she provides mental health and telemental health to adults, children, and families. Jennifer also supervises, teaches, and mentors Social Work RIC students.

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Paola Prado

The latino policy institute

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Associate Professor, Journalism

Paola Prado was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, nestled beneath the iconic statue of Christ that overlooks the city and the greenery of the rainforest. Born a year prior to the military coup that cracked down on freedom of expression and launched 21 years of dictatorship, Paola experienced the stark contrast between stunning natural beauty and extreme injustice. These experiences set her path towards a career in the news media and, later, in the academy.

With a fascinating upbringing surrounded by Brazil’s most talented artists and musicians, as well as journalists and media professionals, Paola came to the U.S. at the age of 18 to study film, at Denison University in Ohio and Sorbonne in Paris later to attend Georgetown University and join the press corps. 

Today, Paola is an Associate Professor of Journalism teaching Digital Journalism and Multimedia Productions and the Program Coordinator of Latin American and Latino Studies. In 2019 she was an editor for the newly published book “Climate Change, Media & Culture: Critical Issues in Global Environmental Communication.”

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Ray Nuñez

The latino policy institute

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Partner, Community Director at The Nuñez Co.

Growing up as a Mexican undocumented immigrant, in a predominately white town, lead Ray to learn how to navigate and value his identity.

Combining his creative abilities of art, writing, and design with his deep-seeded roots of his heritage, he pursued an education and career in design and communications. Ray started out working in a print shop helping neighbors and local companies create their brands.

In 2020, Ray and his wife Taryn launched The Nuñez Co, combining their passion for design and branding to find creative ways to kickstart, scale, and celebrate small businesses.

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