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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.

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Allison Ruiz

President

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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Yasmin Ortiz

Vice President

Yasmin Ortiz was born in NY, lived in Dominican Republic and moved to CT when she was 9 years old.  She graduated Western CT State University with a Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration.  Ms. Ortiz was recipient of the Latino Scholarship Award in 2002.   Currently, Ms. Ortiz is a board member of the Latino Scholarship and manages the Latino Scholarship Softball League in Danbury.  Additionally, Ms. Ortiz was a Danbury area Youth Mentor. She has a 13-year-old daughter and has been employed as a senior paralegal with Ventura Law for 12 years.

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Paul Steinzmen

Treasurer

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.

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Jessica Coronel

Co-Treasurer

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.

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Yadiry Rodriguez

Executive Secretary

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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Jose Diaz

Director of Board Governance

Jose joined Union Savings Bank in 2011. He completed his CFP® coursework at Fairfield University and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. In this role he works closely with clients to identify their objectives, determine appropriate options and ultimately help them make educated decisions. Jose is a member of the Financial Planning Association and serves as a Board Member on the Latino Scholarship Fund, Inc.

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Maria Matos

Community Liaison

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

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Karen Roach

Board Member

Karen Roach was born in Corinto, Nicaragua. She migrated to Los Angeles, CA in 1988 under asylum with her parents. Experiencing first hand the sacrifices her parents made for The American Dream, Karen was the first generation in her family to attain a college degree. She majored in Fashion Design & Merchandising. Karen is now a Billing Analyst for Nuvance Health. She is currently raising her three kids in New Milford, CT.

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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.

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Cristina Saam

Board Member

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.

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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.

Meet the Board: Meet the Team

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.

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Lisa Rivas

Chair

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Abigail Kopp

Co-Chair

Meet the Board: Meet the Team
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2022 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.

Meet the Board: Headliner
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