Meet the Team!
A native of Lynn, MA, Maria Victoria "Vicky" Rivera is the eldest daughter of Colombian and Puerto Rican immigrants. After graduating from St. Mary's High School, she went on to obtain her B.A. in American Civilization from Brown University in 1993 (thanks in large part to the support of the NSCC Upward Bound Program!). As a first generation college student she became very involved with numerous Latino and women's organizations on campus, which instilled in her a desire to help other young people attain their college degrees. After graduation, Vicky stayed at Brown for several years, first working as an Assistant Director of Admissions and later as a Research Assistant in the Education Department. Since then, she has been dedicated to college counseling and has been the Director and Associate Director of College Counseling in various high schools in San Francisco, Miami, Boston and Cambridge. Vicky returned to her roots at the end of 2011 to become the Founding Director of College & Career Counseling at Boston Green Academy. In 2017, she transitioned to her current role as the Director of College & Career Counseling at the Community Charter School of Cambridge.
Since her undergraduate years, she has been an active Hermana of Sigma Lambda Upsilon / Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc., with whom she has dedicated many hours giving back to the Latino community. She is one of the founders of the Brown University Latino Alumni Committee, with whom she served as VP of Programs and Boston Representative. Upon returning to her home state, Vicky became involved with the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund, following in the legacy of her mother, Carmen Rivera, one of the original board members, and her sister, Sandra Rivera, who is a past president. She is deeply committed to giving back to the community that raised her. Since joining the LHSF Board, Vicky has served as the facilitator of the Scholarship Selection Committee as well as Vice President for several years. She is honored to serve as President as of October 2022. Vicky resides in Lynn with her husband Fernando and their two children.
Jazmine Ramirez is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants and a proud graduate of the Lynn Public School system. During her senior year, she was admitted to Harvard University and became a first-generation college graduate in her family. Following college, Jazmine moved to Chicago to pursue her Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Since then, Jazmine has utilized her career in community investments to help allocate much-needed resources to those communities we call home.
Jazmine serves on multiple nonprofit boards. However, serving on the Board of Directors for the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund, in particular, is a humbling opportunity to give back to her community. Lynn students are full of potential and she is excited about the prospect of being a contributor on their journey to achieving their educational aspirations.
In her free time, Jazmine serves as a college interviewer for her alma mater.
Paul Coombs, a lifelong resident of Lynn, has been involved in local political and civic activities since his youth. Volunteering for political candidates since his teenage years, he has continued to be politically involved in environmental and social justice issues through several local organizations. Graduating from Nasson College in Springvale Maine with a B.S. In Biology, Paul soon joined the staff of the Greenpeace Boston office and later began working for the local chapter of the Clean Water Project. During these years he was involved as a fundraiser and campaigner while assuming progressive management roles. From 1991 until 2001, Paul worked for the School for Field Studies in Beverly, MA as a manager specializing in Information Technology.
For the past seventeen years, Paul has been employed as a tax professional and currently works as a self- employed Tax Specialist. In recent years he has joined local organizations as a volunteer and serves as a Board Member and Officer in the following organizations: Goldfish Pond Association, President, Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts, Treasurer, Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Treasurer, and the New Lynn Coalition, Treasurer.
Alby Mendez is a first generation Guatemalan who grew up in Lynn, MA. A product of the Lynn Public Schools, she went on to study Communications and has been a professional fundraiser for over 13 years. She is passionate about how storytelling and target messaging can cause an entire movement.
Currently fundraising for the premiere independent biomedical research institute in the US, Alby spends her days learning about medical discoveries and innovations by some of the most brilliant minds in the world. She is very excited to help in seeding the next generation of biomedical research into the next Bio-century. Being a part of the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Board is especially important because she believes these students deserve a seat at tables like these.
When Alby isn’t in the office, she can be found with her husband doting on their children or arduously working on her non-existing cooking abilities while subjecting her parents and siblings to her culinary creations.
Eliud Alcala was born and raised in the Bronx, New York City. After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America with a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality, Eliud moved to Massachusetts to obtain employment in the Hospitality Industry, North of Boston. Aside from the Hospitality Industry, Eliud worked in Human Services as Human Resources Generalist as well as a Live-In Staff member for a non-profit organization that assists individuals with intellectual distress in the North Shore. After nearly a decade working in the non-profit sector, Eliud returned to his roots in Hospitality as Human Resource Manager for a Hilton Hotel, in Danvers, MA In 2015, Eliud joined the Massachusetts Executive Office of Workforce Development as a Business Engagement Professional serving Business in the North Shore. Eliud has completed his degrees in Masters and Doctorate in Family Counseling.
Carlos is a financial services professional with experience in different fields such as, operations management, banking, trust operations and non-profit. He’s also a Certified Career Coach and a Northeastern University alum.
Carlos is originally from El Salvador, whose family migrated to the United States in search of the so called “American Dream”. He is a big advocate for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and works constantly with underrepresented communities and BIPOC population to create career development and personal empowerment opportunities.
Currently, Carlos serves as a founding council member for alumni engagement for Latinos for Education, a non-profit organization focusing on creating a more equitable education system for students and education professionals. Most recently Carlos served as the Director of Student Affairs for ALPFA Boston where he focuses on creating career development and networking opportunities for Latinx student in the area and assists all the student chapters with their business plan and strategy. He also served as the Director of Coaching and Mentoring and co-founded a PRIDE community at the organization.
In addition, Carlos is a co-founder and co-host of “Hablando Queer”, a podcast exploring what is like to be a queer Latinx person navigating life. Carlos, personal mission is to create a more equitable space for those who need it the most by providing career development, personal empowerment and financial literacy opportunities.
Born to Dominican parents, Gissell moved to Lynn when she was in elementary school and grew up attending Lynn public and parochial schools. As a first generation to college student, she participated in the North Shore Community College Upward Bound Program while in high school. Gissell went on to obtain her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Rhode Island College where she was active with the Latin American Student Organization. Upon graduation, she returned to Lynn and began her career in the Lynn Public Schools as a bilingual elementary school teacher. She continued her education at Salem State College where she received her Masters in Teaching ESL. Over the years, Gissell dedicated her career to working with the youth of Lynn as a teacher in LPS as well as at KIPP. Throughout that time she also taught ESL to adults in the evenings. Gissell previously served on the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Fund Board and helped with fundraising there as well as at St. Joseph’s Parish where she also taught CCD. Gissell is excited to rejoin the LHSF Board of Directors as of November 2022.
Gissell resides in Lynn and is a proud mom of four children who have attended/are currently attending Lynn Public Schools and KIPP. She has always been involved in the PTO and has been active as a Parent Leader with KIPP’s Family and KIPPsters Together (FAKT) Family Council.