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Who are we?

Alianza's executive committee is composed of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, Board member-at-large, and past Presidents. Alianza provides advice to the Provost and other campus officials on matters of concern to Latinos for the benefit of the entire University. Interactions with Latinx student organizations are frequent. By sustaining lines of communication with the wider community and with other affinity groups, Alianza provides a resource for its members, for other affinity groups, and for all members of the K-State Community.

We are members of the K-State Latinx community actively supporting educational access, equity, representation and belonging.

Zoom meeting participants


Marcos Mendez, PhD. LCMFT (he/his, they/their)


Hi! I am a member of Alianza since September 2020 and I am an employee of K-State as a staff psychologist at Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). I provide clinical consultations, individual, couple, and group psychotherapy to students. I was born in Argentina and I am bilingual (Spanish and English). Since Covid 19 has being part of our day to day life, I changed my hobby from dancing tango to playing pickleball.

Sara Thurston, Ph.D. (she/her)


I originally grew up in a small town in Wisconsin.  I started studying Spanish in 7th grade and became fascinated learning about different cultures.  When I got to college I decided to major in Spanish and along the way decided to also major in Art History, where I specialized in art and architecture in Spain and the Americas.  I had a special interest in Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and did independent studies on both.  I was able to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain twice and during my Ph.D. study also had the chance for coursework in Rome, Italy and Havana, Cuba.  My career is in international education and at K-State I have been the director of International Student and Scholar Services since 2007. I am passionate about traveling and experiencing new cultures.  Besides the international experiences I have mentioned, I have also spent significant time in Mexico, and traveled to Austria, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guatemala, India, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.  I am a proud mother to Frida and have been raising her in a bilingual and multicultural environment!  I have been a member of Alianza since 2007 and was president in 2012-2013; Vice President, 2011-2012; and Member-At-Large for 4 terms.

Karin Goldberg, Ph.D. (she/her)


I am a Brazilian geologist working at the Department of Geology since 2016. I have been a member of Alianza since 2018.  Besides Portuguese and English, I can also speak some Spanish. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family (which always involves cooking, as food is a Brazilian’s love language!), hiking and reading. I have a passion for traveling and music.

Rebeca Paz


Rebeca holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the College of the Ozarks and a master’s degree in Counseling from Missouri State University. A native of Bolivia, she is proud of her Latina heritage and committed to the advancement of the Latinx community at K-State.  She loves traveling with her family, learning about other cultures and working with college students. Throughout her extensive career, she has served in several capacities working with retention programs and specifically, first-generation and underrepresented students. She is a recipient of the 2008-2009 Commerce Bank Award for Distinguished Services to Under-represented students at Kansas State University. She currently serves as assistant director for the Office of First-generation Students at K-State. Rebeca is one of the five founding members of Alianza. 

Socorro Herrera (she/her/Ella)


My research focuses on the role that personal histories of the learner, family, and teacher play in literacy development and culturally responsive, sustaining pedagogy; reading strategies; and teacher preparation for diverse classrooms.

Marianne Korten (she/her)


Marianne Korten is a professor at the Math Department. When she was hired, for a number of years she was the only woman faculty in her department. Marianne Korten got her degrees at the University of Buenos Aires. She works in partial differential equations and free boundary problems. She is passionate about equity and access in STEM education and social justice in advanced education altogether.

Liz Alcántara

Liz Alcantara picture

I am a native of the Estado de Mexico, Mexico, grew up throughout areas in the mid-west, and spent most of my life in Garden City, KS.  I’ve been a member of Alianza since 2013 when I joined as graduate student.  My career experiences have allowed me to work with students in multiple capacities, across a variety of student life programs, with early childhood educators, international student programs, and I currently work with academic advisors across the globe. One of the highlights of my college career, was the opportunity to study abroad in Lima, Peru at the Universidad del Pacífico. Outside of work, I love to spend time with family, have a passion for travel, try to eat as many different foods as possible, do anything outdoors, take care of several family pets, cook, read, and dance.  I am a proud parent of two children, Lianna and Alex, who is currently a freshman Wildcat! Go State!