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Meet the CASA staff

Imelda Macias

Office: WAC A-209
Phone: 773-298-3057
Email: macias@sxu.edu

Imelda Macías
CASA Director

Director of Graduate Admission/Recruitment

Imelda Macías currently serves as the Director of Graduate Admission/Recruitment at Saint Xavier University. Imelda holds a B.A. in Communications from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, an M.B.A in Marketing/Internet and Social Media from Saint Xavier University, and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Higher Education/Interdisciplinary Leadership from Governor's State University. Her area of research is focused on the role of Hispanic Serving Institutions in enrollment, retention and graduation rates of first generation Latinx students. Imelda Macías is fluent in Spanish and is involved in several initiatives that serve the institution's diverse student population and their families.

 Patricia Santoyo Marin

Office: WAC A-209
Phone: 773-298-3150
Email: santoyomarin@sxu.edu

Patricia Santoyo-Marin
Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence and High-Impact Practice Specialist

Patricia Santoyo-Marin received her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Illinois and a Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership for Global Society from Northeastern Illinois University. Over the course of 15 years in higher education, Patricia accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience, in matters related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and continues to be a tireless advocate for students and student success. Patricia has served as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Multicultural Students at Augustana College; and Associate Director for the Office of Multicultural Student Success at DePaul University, among other positions in advising, outreach, and retention. Patricia's is an active member in multiple professional and community organizations and has authored and co-authored several publications.

Nancy Ortiz-Romero, MSW

Office: WAC A-219
Phone: 773-298-3151
Email: ortizromero@sxu.edu

Nancy Ortiz-Romero
Director of Student Support

Nancy Ortiz-Romero received her Bachelors of Science from Eastern Illinois University and a Masters in Social Work from Loyola University. Prior to coming on board at SXU, Nancy worked as a mental health practitionerfor Metropolitan Family Services. In her 15 years of practice, Nancy worked with families, adults, youth, and communities; all culminating in positive behavioral outcomes within diverse populations. Nancy also taught in the Criminal Justice Department at Westwood College, delivering classroom lectures and connecting with college students. Today she is excited to be part of SXU and being able to provide students with the support, guidance, and resources to help them continue their success in higher education. In her spare time, Nancy enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, traveling, camping, gardening, and loves soccer.

Suyapa Velasquez

Office: WAC A-219
Phone: 773-298-3153
Email: velasquez@sxu.edu

Suyapa Velásquez
Academic Support Coach

Suyapa Velásquez holds a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) and a Master in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education Administration, both from Northeastern Illinois University. In addition to over 5 years of experience working in the higher education world at Northeastern Illinois University, her professional background also includes working with high school students as a Special Education and English Language Learners Paraprofessional at ASPIRA Business and Finance high school. She has provided academic support to high school students and guided those who are transitioning to their post-secondary education.

Velásquez loves spending time with her family. In her spare time, she enjoys physical fitness, listening to varieties of music and watching personal growth videos. She also loves learning about people's cultures.

Teresa Vazquez

Office: WAC L-208
Phone: 773-298-3135
Email: tvazquez@sxu.edu

Teresa Vazquez
Bilingual Academic and Career Resource Advisor

Teresa Vazquez has Bachelor degrees in English and Psychology, as well as a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration, concentrating in Diversity and Social Justice. Her approach to education stems from strength-based theory and appreciative form of advising. Before coming to Saint Xavier University, she worked on racial justice, disability inclusion and religious pluralism through program development and management. She also has experience in academic advising, career advising, financial advising and study abroad.

In her free time, Vazquez enjoys reading all kinds of literature, watching sci-fi TV and movies, discovering new music, trying new recipes and writing about it all.

Rafael Valencia

Office: WAC A-210
Phone: 773-298-3079
Email: valencia@sxu.edu

Rafael Valencia
Bilingual Financial Literacy Coach

Rafael Valencia graduated from Saint Xavier University's Graham School of Management in May 2020. He has worked in the Office of Financial Aid for more than three years before becoming Bilingual Financial Literacy Coach. He is extremely eager to help students reach their financial goals, whether it be in school or in their personal life. His main positional goal is to create growth and empowerment of student finances to create a sense of flexibility in their lives.

 Jorge Arevalo

Office: WAC S-405
Phone: 773-298-3175
Email: arevalo@sxu.edu

Jorge Arévalo
Senior Research Analyst

Jorge Arévalo joined Saint Xavier University in 2008. He now works as a Senior Analyst for the Institutional Research office working in conjunction with the CASA (Title V grant) initiative overseeing the internal data collection and evaluation of the project elements. Jorge holds a Bachelor of Science in information systems engineering from the University of El Salvador (2005), an MBA from Southern Illinois University (2007) and Project Management certificate from Saint Xavier University (2009). Whenever possible, Jorge enjoys to spend holidays in his home country of El Salvador, in the company of his wife and two small children.

Sara Bellus

Office: WAC L-110
Phone: 773-298-5148
Email: bellus@sxu.edu

Sara Bellus
Math Specialist

Sara previously worked as a Math Teacher and Department Head at Phoenix Military Academy. While there, she taught Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and everything in between. She has also worked as a one-on-one tutor for a number of years, focusing mostly on math, test prep, and executive functioning skills. Sara graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in Teaching of Math, and holds endorsements in Mathematics, Secondary Education and Physics. She is excited to help further Saint Xavier's mission and vision, and has a strong commitment to equal educational access for all, particularly for communities who are traditionally underserved and for those who experience barriers to higher education.

Diana Barraza Ontiveros

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Diana Barraza Ontiveros
Multilingual Writing Specialist

Diana received her B.A. from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Spanish and her M.A. in Spanish from New Mexico State University. She has experience as an instructor and tutor at New Mexico State University, where she taught courses such as Composition and Grammar. Diana worked as a one-on-one tutor for the Languages and Linguistics Department at NMSU for more than two years, assisting students to improve their reading comprehension and understanding of the writing process (including from brain storming to revising and editing). She is also part of the academic magazine Arenas Blancas' Editorial Committee, where she assists with coordination, editing and design.