Our Staff 

Our Staff

Meet Our Staff

Our staff members know the power of giving back. Each one has made a true commitment to support UCR’s Chicano/Latino community, and each has their own story of how they got here, what they value, and why they love working at Chicano Student Programs.

Estella Acuna
Estella Acuña
Director

Serving the campus since 1996
Phone: 951-827-3822

I joined the Chicano Student Programs staff in 1996 and, in a span of seven years, went from being the student assistant to the program director.

After high school, I attended Riverside Community College where I received my associate degree. I then transferred to UCR where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chicano studies. I am the first in my family to attend college.

I truly enjoy my job; it is absolutely my dream job. I enjoy working with the students, faculty, and staff. My involvement, mentors and studies have inspired me to give back to the community and try to make a difference. I grew up in a single-family household. My mom’s values, survival and love for her children have also influenced my life.

Tune in to KUCR 88.3 FM on Friday nights and you might hear a familiar voice. Adelante!

John Valdez
Budget, Personnel & Program Assistant

Serving the campus since 2007
Phone: 951-827-2216

The youngest of eight children, I was born and raised in the small farming community of San Jacinto. I am a proud graduate of the San Jacinto High School Class of 1988. After high school, I attended DeVry University where I received a Bachelor of Science in accounting.

In October of 2007, after many years of nonprofit work, I accepted a position with Chicano Student Programs as an administrative assistant. Since my very first day at CSP, I have felt like part of the familia.

I have had many jobs throughout my lifetime, but I truly feel like Chicano Student Programs is where I was meant to end up. The staff, faculty and especially the students here at UCR make it more than just a job.

In my spare time, I have the honor of being the vice president of the Teamsters Local 2010, Riverside Chapter.

My greatest joy in life comes from being a father. Together with my wife-to-be Melanie, I have the privilege of raising six beautiful children and one grandchild who range in age from 18 months to 20 years. Everything I do in life, including the work I do in CSP, is to build a better future for my kids and the Chicano/Latino community in general.


Arlene M. Cano
Social/Cultural Programmer

Serving the campus since 2011
Phone: 951-827-2215

Bienvenidos! I have the great privilege of being the social and cultural program coordinator for Chicano Student Programs at UCR.

I was raised in Heber, CA, a small border town in the Imperial Valley, adjacent to Mexicali, México. I always knew que “Si se puede,” thanks to my mother’s strength and love.
After high school, I attended UCR. In 2008, I graduated with departmental honors with bachelor’s degrees in both ethnic studies and political science: law and society.
After graduation from UCR, I worked as the coordinator for the Riverside County Library System, leading a county-wide Latino outreach campaign titled, Leer Es Triunfar (Reading is Succeeding) to raise awareness and use of library services among Latino residents in Riverside County.
Currently, I am happy to be back home with my UCR familia and I look forward to a great year working with both our on and off-campus communities. I continue my passion working with our students and community focusing on cultural empowerment, political awareness, community service, and higher education. Please stop by and visit!

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