2022-2023 Officers


Past President

Dina Ibarra, Ed. M | She/Her/Hers/Ella


Educational Talent Search Director

Dina Ibarra serves as Director for the University of Washington TRIO Educational Talent Search (UW ETS). Dina has been working in higher education for over 10 years, working primarily with underrepresented, first generation and income eligible students. Her prior experience has been working with the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Heritage University (HU) and as an Assistant Director for Enrollment Counseling at Washington State University (WSU). In her professional work, Dina has worked with hundreds of students and families in central Washington in assisting them in achieving their dream of going to college. In 2017, Dina joined University of Washington’s Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity (OMA&D) as the TRIO UW ETS Director. Dina also became involved with the Washington State TRIO State Association (WSTA) in 2019 supporting the state Mentorship Initiative Program and is currently the State President (2020-2021). Like OMA&D’s mission, Dina’s work revolves in creating pathways for diverse populations in creating access to postsecondary opportunities through support and guidance, the reason why she was excited to take the position at UW.

“I enjoy working with TRIO and UW OMA&D, as our work goes hand-in-hand.” -Dina






Veronica Guadarrama, MHED | She/Her/Hers

Student Support Services Director

Veronica Guadarrama was a first-generation, low-income student who grew up in Royal City, Washington. Her parents dreamed for her to attend college. With the help of TRIO Upward Bound, she attended Central Washington University. While at Central, she participated in CAMP, TRIO SSS, and McNair Scholars Programs. These programs helped her navigate college and obtain her degree. Even though Veronica obtained her bachelors in Secondary Math Education, she decided higher education was her path. So, she moved to Tucson, Arizona to pursue her masters in Higher Education at the University of Arizona. After her master’s program she moved back home and started working at Big Bend Community College as the STEM Center Coordinator. Then, December of 2018, she was hired as the TRIO SSS Director at Big Bend Community College. August 2020, BBCC was awarded a TRIO STEM grant. Both TRIO SSS grants are now under her prevue. Veronica loves her job because she is helping others achieve their academic and career goals. At the Washington state level, Veronica has served for two years as the East Representative and the Chair of the Washington State Mentor Initiative Program for New Directors.




President Elect

Shelly Hoffman | She/Her/Hers 

Shelly dropped out of high school at 15 and had many failed attempts at college. At the age of 48, she returned for the final time. Her challenge was working multiple jobs that barely put food on the table. She decided at 48 that it was now or never. She signed up with TRIO and she did everything to be successful, even if that meant meeting with her specialist multiple times a week. Being a first-generation college student has impacted her tremendously. There is not only the knowledge that you can relax a little but also some pride in knowing that you are the role model for family younger than you. Shelly found TRIO by accident, and her advisor happened to be in his office. She asked a few questions, and he embraced her 100%. Being in TRIO has given Shelly the skills to succeed in classes, in personal life, and her new passions. She did not know that her life was about to change completely that first day she met Dave Brown. She wants to give more than she takes from the world and believes that giving back to future students is part of that. TRIO helped her get closer to that because without TRIO, she doesn’t think she would have found herself. Shelly hopes to learn her new role as a Student Support Specialist in a way where she can impact the lives of others to find their dreams and passions.”

Student Support Specialist                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            


Elaine Tuisila | She/Her/Hers








Metropolitan Development Center EOC


Tony Au | He/His/Him

Operations Specialist | Curriculum & Services Coordinator | Upward Bound


Tony Au is a Seattle native and product of the University of Washington Upward Bound Program. As a current TRIO professional, he views his current role as a great opportunity to both move Upward Bound’s work forward and pay it forward, supporting students in similar ways he was supported as a low-income, first-generation high school student. Tony graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Specializations: Information Systems & Human Resources Management). He then obtained his Master’s in Education in College Student Services Administration (Concentrations: Leadership & Social Justice) from Oregon State University. Before coming back to TRIO, Tony spent a number of years working in housing/residence life, starting off as a Resident Advisor in college and later becoming a full-time Resident Director working directly with college students to support their development and success in the residence halls. In his spare time, Tony enjoys spending time with his nieces and nephew, going on “walks and talks” with friends, and listening to Mariah Carey.


East Representative

Maria Itzel Soto | She/Her/Hers









Heritage University – Title V


West Representative

Jimmy Merino-Cruz | He/His/Him

Counseling Services Coordinator | Student Support Services


Jimmy was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington as a first-generation and low-income college student. Growing up, he never really envisioned himself as a scholar or someone who had college potential and was fully ready to go into the work force after graduating from high school. Jimmy began to realize his potential as a student when he joined the Upward Bound TRIO program at the Evergreen State College. Through the support of his mentors, he was accepted to the University of Washington and completed his undergraduate degree in American Ethnic Studies. While at the UW, he discovered his passion for research through the McNair scholars program. Jimmy is currently finishing up his Master’s in Social Justice and Equity in Education at San Francisco State University while working as an academic counselor for the TRIO program that supported him through college. His passion and purpose is to support students who come from similar backgrounds to his own and give back to the communities and programs that helped empower him as a student and professional. TRIO WORKS!

Alumni Coordinators

Karla Villanueva, Evergreen UB & Jennifer Silva-Gutierrez, Gear Up


Tech Committee Chair

Kenji Seta | He/Him/His


Student Support Specialist

Kenji has been one of the Student Support Specialists at Grays Harbor College since January 2020. He grew up in southern California, but has lived around the world as a result of a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Engineering from the U. S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. He also earned a Master’s of Science Degree in Management from Troy University while stationed in South Korea. He is currently working on a Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Washington – Tacoma. Kenji has worked at Grays Harbor College since 2008 as a adjunct math/engineering instructor, tutoring center coordinator, and of course, in TRiO. Kenji states that TRiO has been the most rewarding job he has ever had.






CLC Committee Chair

Nitasha Lewis, Peninsula College UB &Alex Eppel, WSU UB


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