Meet J. Diego Zarazúa, the new coordinator of education, research and outreach at the Latino Research Center on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Zarazúa graduated from the University with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2016. During his education, he was a member of the Latino Student Advisory Board, so he is well-versed with the center and hopes to improve upon its legacy.
Zarazúa began his position as coordinator in January 2019 and found the Latino Research Center in a bit of transition. The center was recently renovated with new paint, fresh carpet and new furniture and was welcoming new staff. Now that Zarazúa is here, the Latino Research Center is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
A steering committee, led by Jafeth Sanchez, assistant professor of education, Robert Gutierrez-Perez, assistant professor of communication studies, Lorraine T. Benuto, assistant professor of psychology and Mario Alpuche Aviles, associate professor of chemistry, helped to keep the center functioning while the changes were taking place. In addition, Gutierrez-Perez was critical in helping to get another volume of the center's Border-Lines journal published.
"I felt very well guided in coming in and aiding Robert with the edits and getting the ball rolling with publishing volume 11," Zarazúa said. "This is very exciting because this is one of the huge legacies of the LRC."
During the last couple of months, Zarazúa has been working diligently meeting with faculty and departments across campus to introduce himself and help build back the trust and collaboration with the center. He has also been helping to get a new website launched and is planning the first new meeting of the semester with the Latino Student Advisory Board.
"I want to empower students with resources and club events that can help their educational growth, as well as their community advocacy and community outreach," Zarazúa said.
In the coming months, he is excited to help support the incoming director of the center and expand the efforts of the Latino graduation ceremony. In addition, he plans to bring back the Día de Los Muertos celebration to campus - which Zarazúa said is the largest and only celebration of its kind in Nevada.
Zarazúa has promising plans for the center in the future. He is passionate to make it a welcoming place for anyone looking for a resource or to celebrate culture and diversity around the Latino community.
"I think something important to know about the Latino Research Center is that as a coordinator, I'm just very excited that the doors are back open and that I can start working very hard to reestablish those collaborations within the community and our campus clubs, organizations and faculty to better serve our Latinx students," Zarazúa said.