Welcome to The Center
Our staff, like the students we serve, is diverse! We welcome you to stop by the center and get to know us better, we're here to make your time at the University of Nevada, Reno feel more like home.
The full-time professional staff at The Center come from diverse backgrounds and are all experts on working with diverse populations in higher education. Feel free to schedule an appointment with one of them to get counseling on financial aid, scholarships, academics, tutoring and anything in between! They are also available to advise your club or help you with your next cultural or diversity event.
Blane Harding - Director
Blane Harding is the Director of the Center at the University of Nevada Reno. He previously served as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Kansas and prior to that as the Director of Advising, Recruitment, and Retention for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. Blane has served as a retention specialist with the Council for Opportunity in Education which oversees the national TRiO programs. Blane taught African American history and Ethnic Studies at Colorado State University for over 20 years and his areas of interest include cultural competency, social justice, and providing educational access for underrepresented populations. Thank you for visiting The Center webpage and please feel free to visit our office in "The Joe".
Araceli Martinez - Assistant Director
Araceli Martinez received her Master's in Educational Leadership in Higher Education from the University of Nevada, Reno as well as her Bachelor's Degrees in Spanish and Biology. Araceli works extensively with diverse populations with an emphasis on the Latino populations in the areas of outreach, retention and graduation, specifically with K-12th graders. She is fluent in Spanish and is the first person in her family to graduate from college and as an alumna of two TRiO programs. Araceli immigrated to the US at the age of six from Morelia, Michoacan Mexico and has achieved many accomplishments thanks to the support of her family.
Jody Lykes - Student Development Coordinator
Jody received his M.A. in Educational Leadership as well as his Gender, Race, and Identity certificate from the University of Nevada, Reno and his B.A. in Political Science with a Spanish minor from Brigham Young University, Provo. Jody's areas of interest include Pan-Africanism and the Diaspora, Hip Hop Scholarship, and diversifying law school admissions. In the past he has consulted with the Washoe County School District on matters of difference. Jody is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, the Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society (NNBCAS), and the Reno/Sparks NAACP Chapter. He is also fluent in Spanish.
Saundra Mitrovich - Outreach and Retention Coordinator
Saundra is currently working toward completing her master’s in Native American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She completed her B.A. in History from Cameron University with a minor in Ethnic Studies. Saundra’s areas of interest include examining all aspects of tribal sovereignty, increasing rates of attendance in higher education within the American Indian/Alaska Native community, and outreach and retention of both high school and college students. She is a first-generation college student and an alum of both the Student Support Services program and McNair scholars program in addition to the AmeriCorps Vista program where she served in both the North Pole, Alaska and Nenana, Alaska communities. Currently, Saundra sits on numerous committees focused on preparing American Indian/Alaska Native youth for higher education and is a member of the National Indian Education Association. With the support of her husband Samuel and daughter Sasha along with numerous family and friends, Saundra seeks to continue her pursuit of even more education to help support her current and future students.
Ricardo Salazar - Program Coordinator
Ricardo (Ricky) received his Master's in Social Work from the University of Nevada, Reno in May of 2015. He completed his B.A. in Criminal Justice in 2011. Ricky has previous experience working with income-qualified, first-generation youth; however, his areas of interest include exploring the intersectionalities of race, sexual identity, and Latin culture - and he serves as a strong advocate for the LGBT population. A TRiO student by heart, he's able to share his own experiences with others and relate to the many challenges underrepresented college students and their families' face. Ricky is the Region V Representative for the 2017 NASPA Planning Committee. An alumnus of the first Latino-based fraternity in the State of Nevada, Nu Alpha Kappa Fraternity, Inc., Ricky guides his younger fraternity brothers by providing mentorship and support. Ricky also enjoys spending time with his family and the "rock star" lifestyle with his own cumbia band, Ritmo Ardiente.
Graduate Assistants and Interns
Our Center Graduate Assistants and Interns assist the professional staff in outreach, retention and programming for students from populations historically underrepresented in higher education. They are responsible for coordinating co-curricular events and programs, assisting student clubs and organizations, and conducting outreach on campus. Feel free to contact them for help with your club, classes, or life in general!
Monique is a graduate student at the University of Nevada, Reno and in the Masters of Social Work Program. Monique graduated from the University with a Bachelor's degree in English and a minor in Ethnic Minority studies. Currently, Monique is the Member Group organizer at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN). Monique works on social justice issues, and focuses on these issues within her program of study. Monique will graduate with a Master's in Social Work in May 2017.
Fernando (Ferny) Gonzalez
Fernando is a senior and majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. His dream job is to be a professor some day and teaching classes on human development and human sexuality. He is a first-generation student. Fernando earned his Associates of Arts at Truckee Meadows Community College, where he currently works as a Peer Advisor in the Advising Department. Initially, he started off as a Secondary Education Major with an Emphasis in Mathematics, but quickly learned that he hated math more than when Starbucks ruins his coffee in the morning. As a Latino and a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, Fernando is ecstatic to work with other LGBTQIA+ students and within the Safe Zone Workshops. In his free time, Fernando likes to play video games, spend time with his partner of 3 years, skip the gym, procrastinate on homework, and take daily naps.