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Board Members

Committed to the Cause

Coming together from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, our skilled team of volunteers is the backbone of Latino Scholarship Fund, Inc. Their ideas help shape the direction and mission of our organization as it continues to develop.


Allison Ruiz


Allison Ruiz joined Latino Scholarship Fund, Inc. in February 2017 as the Executive Secretary with the vision and drive to give back to the community through our organization. 

July 2020, Allison was voted in as the President where her focus is to bring board members' skills to the forefront in order to continue to accomplish our mission with experience and integrity despite such uncertain times. She is mentored by her predecessor, Abigail Kopp. 

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Heidy Coronel

Vice President

Heidy Coronel is a passionate community advocate with a proven track record of driving social change through meaningful relationships. Growing up in Danbury, CT, Heidy's Ecuadorian heritage instilled in her the importance of culture and community connection. She pursued her passion for learning by exploring global cultures and understanding how economic and cultural factors shape space and location. A 2021 graduate from Clark University with a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a minor in Geography.


Heidy is a 2017 LSF recipient and joins the board as the Executive Secretary to help the organization achieve its goals and make a meaningful impact in the community. 


Paul Steinzmen


Paul Steinmetz is the director of public affairs & community relations at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Before working at WCSU, Steinmetz was the editor of the News-Times. He worked at the paper for 24 years. Paul and his wife, Jenine, have four children.


Jessica Coronel


Jessica Coronel was born in Ecuador and came to this country at the age of 12 years old. She has a passion for the Latino culture and this passion motivated her to pursue a career on Spanish Secondary Education and  a minor in Psychology. She is currently the Assistant Director of  Western Connecticut State University Pre-Collegiate and Access Programs, where she helps middle and high school students with the college process. As a way to give back to her Latino community, she joined the board on February 2013 in order to help increase the opportunities for more Hispano students to attend college. She strongly believes that by helping others achieve their dreams, we are creating a better society.


Yadiry Rodriguez

Board Member

My name is Yadiry Rodriguez. Proudly born and raised in the Dominican Republic. I am very family oriented, I enjoy traveling, playing sports and spending time with my dog. I have a bachelors in finance and I work for the Savings Bank of Danbury as a Branch Relationship Manager.

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Maria Matos

Community Liason

Maria Matos is an equalitarian with a passion for community service; for over 15 years, she has been a noteworthy leader in the community. Currently working as the Executive Director for Latinos for Educational Advocacy and Diversity, she is best known for her commitment to elevating the community through education and establishing an effective learning environment to allow students to reach their targets.

One of her most recent accomplishments was being a liaison to help more than 50 families in Danbury to obtain jobs at the local hospital. By becoming a teacher herself, she was able to open classrooms for more than 120 ESL (English as a Second Language) students. Thanks to her successful engagement with the communities in Danbury, Maria has been able to form partnerships with other surrounding cities, such as Bridgeport and Norwich, thus grasping a foothold with the Charter advocacy groups.

Maria has received several awards, including recognitions from the government of the Dominican Republic for her contribution to the strengthening of the Dominican community in California, and was also honored by The National Association of Professional Women as “VIP Woman Of The Year Circle” her perseverance, work ethic, and leadership qualities are an inspiration to all women. Maria holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and various undergraduate

"A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but its persistence.”

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Perry R. Salvagne

Board Member

Perry graduated from Wake Forest University in 2010 with a BA in both Economics and Spanish, and has worked in the insurance industry since licensed in 2007.  After graduating, he joined his father at Hodge Insurance Agency in downtown Danbury, and was named company President in 2017.
In his community, Perry serves as Vice Chairman on the CityCenter Danbury Board of Commissioners.  Working to revitalize downtown Danbury as a destination for culture, arts, and entertainment, CityCenter Danbury is responsible for the design, organization, promotion and economic restructuring of the Downtown Danbury Special Services District.  
Perry is also an alumnus of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Danbury program, and has since worked closely with some of the city’s young leaders to develop GetDowntown Danbury, an advocacy group representing the interests of Danbury’s next generation of stakeholders.


Cristina Saam

Gala Subcommittee 

Cristina was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT. As an adolescent, she had an opportunity to attend a prestigious high school in Weston, CT through a program called Project Choice and found it to be a life changing experience. She joins LSF to help give other students the same opportunities afforded to her. She received her Bachelors degree in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health from Southern Connecticut State University. After graduating, she worked at a private non-profit in Norwalk, CT. She later obtained her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University. Cristina is now a bilingual clinician at a private non-profit mental health clinic in Danbury, CT and lives in Brookfield with her husband Gregory.


Maria Xavier

Board Member

Maria Xavier grew in Norwalk, CT and graduated from Southern CT State University with a B.A in Spanish and Communication. She became a financial advisor in 2018 at Edward Jones after a successful 20-year career in technology and telecom.  She joined the LSF Board because she believes rewarding hard working students with scholarships will have a positive impact for their lives, their families and their communities.
She and her husband Victor live in Seymour, CT.

Our Selection Committee

In order to ensure applicants a selection process that is fair and unbiased all applicants will be evaluated by the Selection Committee, not by board members. Criteria for awards are determined based upon Interview, Financial Need, Character, Integrity and Involvement in the Community. The number of awards shall be determined based upon relative need and the availability of funds.


Lisa Rivas


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Abigail Kopp


2023 Platinum Sponsor 

Please Note: Volunteering, Donating and General Participation in the Latino Scholarship Fund, Inc. does not increase chances for scholarship awards. All awards are based on the application process and Selection Committee's evaluation of each candidate.

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