Casa

Meet the Casa Latina Staff!

Photo of Rocio Ayard Ochoa

Rocio Ayard Ochoa

Director - Casa Latina Cultural Center
r-ayardochoa@wiu.edu

What do you do at Casa Latina?
In my role as the Director of Casa Latina Cultural Center and as a student affairs practitioner I am passionate about social justice, intersectionality and developing students through education, engagement and leadership. I ensure Casa provides a unique and empowering space for students to experience college life. It is also important that Casa is a space on campus that offers a holistic learning experience allowing students to explore ethnic identity development, engage in social justice, community outreach, cultural expression, social and professional networking so they can become the best version of themselves.
What degrees do you have?
B. A. in Sociology from Wartburg College in Waverly Iowa and a M.A in Latin American Studies from the University of Granada in Granada, Spain
Favorite place you have traveled?
Rome, Italy
Favorite movie?
Finding Nemo & Hidden Figures
Favorite quote?
Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
- Frida Kahlo
What is one goal you have for this year?
To continue to be a servant leader.

Photo of Rocio Yvette Bahena

Yvette Bahena

Graduate Assistant - Engagement Coordinator
College Student Personnel, 2018
y-bahena@wiu.edu

What do you do at Casa Latina?
This is my second year as a graduate assistant at Casa. My focus at the center is Student Engagement, so I work to implement educational, cultural, innovative, and collaborative programs. I am also the Latin American Student Organization Co-Adviser.
What degrees do you have?
I am an alumni of Loras College. I have a double major in Finance and International Studies, with a double minor in Spanish and Catholic Studies.
Favorite place you have traveled?
Muros, Spain
Favorite movie?
I am undecided! Please recommend some!
Favorite quote?
You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself
- The Wizard of Oz
What is one goal you have for this year?
My goal is to continue growing professionally and personally; I like to be challenged to think outside my norms.

Photo of Rocio Lili Velazquez

Lili Velazquez

Graduate Assistant - Community Outreach & Communications Coordinator
College Student Personnel, 2019
ea-velazquez@wiu.edu

What do you do at Casa Latina?
I am the adviser for Tradicion Latin Dance Team. I also serve as our Communications and Community Outreach coordinator. I work to establish relationships with campus and community members.
What degrees do you have?
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Latin American & Latino Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Favorite place you have traveled?
Las Vegas with some of my sorority sisters. It was a blast!
Favorite movie?
Currently, my favorite movie is Moana.
Favorite quote?
I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it
- Oprah Winfrey
What is one goal you have for this year?
I wish to continue to grow as a professional and individual and continue to bring the Casa community together.

Photo of Rocio Elijah Amelse

Elijah Amelse

Graduate Assistant - Operations Coordinator
College Student Personnel, 2018
ec-amelse@wiu.edu

What do you do at Casa Latina?
As the Operations Coordinator, I oversee the daily office operations within Casa Latina (facilities, maintenance, procedures, and the website). I also oversee the training of the Casa Latina Student Staff. Although this is my second year at Casa Latina, this is my first time in this position. I have been enjoying learning the ins and outs of office operations and exploring how my passions for social justice and learning can be integrated into the work that I do.
What degrees do you have?
I received a Bachelor of Science in Human Development with a minor in French and Francophone Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay.
Favorite place you have traveled?
The Continental Divide - Berthoud Pass, Rocky Mountains Colorado. After climbing to the top of the mountain, it felt like I was on top of the world.
Favorite movie?
Pan's Labyrinth!
Favorite quote?
The world does not benefit from you hiding your bad-assery
- Lauren Zuniga
What is one goal you have for this year?
One of my goals for this year is to explore assessment and evaluation. Through my position at Casa Latina, I hope to design, implement, and critique various assessment and evaluation methods as well as the results I gain from them. I hope to utilize this to better inform the work that I do at Casa Latina as well as when I graduate.

Contact Info

Casa Latina Cultural Center
1 University circle
Macomb, IL 61455

E-mail: casa@wiu.edu
Phone: (309) 298-3379
Fax: (309) 298-2567

Office Hours of Operation

M-F: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.