Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council
MEET OUR MEMBERS
- Jose Diaz Aquino
- J. Michael Cruz
- Dani Donaldson
- Ruth Eaton
- Patricia Garcia
- Katie Mommaerts
- Frank X. Moraga
- Miguel Vasquez
- Esteban Villareal
José Díaz Aquino is currently the Assistant Director for Career Programming at the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Career Development office. He is a Higher Education Professional with 4+ years’ experience in enrollment management, admissions, and career development and 9+ years’ experience in consumer goods manufacturing and recruiting. He has a unique background as a Chemical Engineer with global experience working across three different countries (US, Mexico, and Australia) and in multiple manufacturing locations and platforms that has allowed him to develop a proven ability to deliver impactful work through the combination of functional expertise, interpersonal skills, and an agile, strategic approach. His previous experience includes working in companies such as General Mills, Proctor and Gamble, and Merck, Sharp & Dohme, as well as having the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Notre Dame and his alma mater, the University of Puerto Rico. After deciding to explore a new career path at the age of 31, he completed his Master of Education degree with a focus on Educational Leadership, which combined with his experience gained in admissions and enrollment management has opened the world of higher education and student affairs. It has also given him the opportunity to become an Instructor at NAU for the First Year Experience department helping students learn about and apply transition theory and design thinking concepts as they begin their college journey. The intersections of equity and access, career development and exploration, and STEM education are some of Jose’s interest areas. Jose is married to his amazing wife, Marcela, and they are so blessed to have a 13 month old at home (Andrés Sebastián) who is teaching them new things every day!
J Michael Cruz is a Texas native and graduate of Texas Woman’s University (PhD, Sociology, 2001) and University of North Texas (MA, Sociology, 1996). Michael’s professional experience began in higher education as a Sociology Professor in Portland, Maine at the University of Southern Maine, and then at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tx. Michael taught very applied Sociology courses and required community engagement and service learning of his students. Leaving higher education in 2013 to join the non-profit sector full-time was thus, a natural career progression for him. Michael has worked for Resource Center Dallas- an LGBT nonprofit service organization, The Suder Foundation, and Prism Health North Texas in Dallas, where he started working in public health (2016). Michael came to Flagstaff in the Fall of 2018 to follow his partner and is excited to have found his local community in the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council.
A third-generation Flagstaff local, and a daughter to two Northern Arizona University (NAU) alumni, pursuing post-secondary education with NAU seemed a natural decision in her college-bound journey. Dani Donaldson changed majors five times throughout her academic career, experienced first-hand the many challenges that face college students, and did much experiential learning in the way of navigating the nuances of higher education. In an effort to help guide other students through the process, she has found her fit within enrollment management and student affairs and currently works as an Assistant Director with the NAU Admissions team.
Since graduating with her B.A. in Anthropology in 2011, she has been a contributing alumna within the Northern Arizona University community both in her work and in her spare time. In 2016, she completed her M. Ed. in Educational Leadership, creating an educational background that allows her passions of education and people to collide. At the end of the day, Dani is an advocate for promoting educational equity, access, and excellence for all students. She has been a member of CHAC since Feb 2020.
Ruth Eaton, M. Ed., is of Mexican Ancestry, a Flagstaff resident, and retiree of Catholic Charities in Phoenix, Arizona. Ruth is an advocate for legislative change and for Latino and Human Rights. She serves as a Community Volunteer for CHAC and past CHAC Chair and Co-Chair, volunteer for Coconino County Employee Appeals Board, volunteered for NAU Hispanic Convocation prior to COVID-19. She is a current member of NALEO- National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials and the statewide Hispanic Leadership Institute West.
Ruth also served in community service and leadership roles in Maricopa County. She served on Catholic Charities Ethics Committee, served on 2003 Education Subcommittee of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Child Protective Services Reform. Ruth’s past career fields are inclusive of College Instruction, Administration, Management, and as a Federal Consultant. Her greatest past experience was volunteering and collaborating in community partnerships with child protective services. Ruth holds the belief that Latino Leaders have an ancestral responsibility to build new Latinx Leadership by mentoring, connecting and volunteering in the community.
Katie Mommaerts is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Social Work at Northern Arizona University. Katie graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Masters in Social Work in 2006 and is a doctoral student in the Interdisciplinary Health program at NAU. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has over 10 years of direct social work practice in various roles and across the life span. She has worked in a variety of settings, such as: integrated care, hospice/palliative care, school social work, and community mental/behavioral health. She obtained an Integrated Behavioral Health-Clinical Certificate from Arizona State University and an Infant/Family Clinical Practice Certificate and an Infant/Family Studies Certificate from the Harris Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Training and Institute. Katie is an active member of the National Association of Social Workers and serves as Vice President for the NASW AZ Chapter. Katie joined the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council (CHAC) in January 2021.
Katie moved to Flagstaff from Wisconsin in 2009, is a certified personal trainer, and enjoys the mountain life the Flagstaff community has to offer. Katie enjoys riding her bike, hiking, camping, and spending time with her husband and dog.
Frank X. Moraga uses his journalism background to build bridges between a wide variety of people and cultures in Northern Arizona.
He is the editor and publisher of www.AmigosNAZ.com, which provides information for and about the vibrant Latino community in Northern Arizona. He is also the outreach coordinator for the Coconino Coalition for Children & Youth, which works with more than 100 partners to promote the education, health and welfare of children and youth in Northern Arizona.
Frank is a U.S. Navy veteran and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism and history, with a focus on Latin American history, from California State University, Long Beach.
Frank’s journalism career began as a community business reporter for the Orange County Register, a community reporter and later design editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and finally a variety of positions at the Ventura County Star where he served as community reporter, business reporter, business editor, director of diversity and finally general manager of the Star’s bilingual publication.
Frank has received numerous awards in more than 20 years’ experience in journalism and community relations.
He has served as chair of the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council (CHAC), a member of Flagstaff Nuestras Raíces and a founding member of the Flagstaff Police Department Citizens Liaison Committee.
Miguel Vasquez, Ph. D., Professor of Anthropology (Emeritus) Northern Arizona University. Miguel, a native of San Francisco, is a recently retired applied anthropologist who has worked with Latino, Mayan, Native American, African American, and disabled adult communities for almost 50 years. He has been recognized as an NAU President’s Distinguished Teaching Fellow. In his 32 years at NAU, he taught nearly 12,000 students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
With extensive experience working with farmworkers in California, the Hopi Tribe here in Arizona, in Mayan communities in Guatemala and Mexico, and as consultant with the U.S. Department of Health &Human Services, he has provided valuable cultural insights and technical assistance in community engagement, asset based community development, and program assessment.
He was a contributor to the World Health Organization Spanish-Language Manual on Disabilities, a past Board Member of the Society for Applied Anthropology, the Flagstaff Unified School District, the Museum of Northern Arizona, and a longtime member of the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council. He has been married for 45 years to Marina Vasquez, a Mayan elder (now retired) with the NAU Native American Cultural Center. They have 2 sons, Jeronimo and Francisco, and 7 wonderful grandchildren. Jeronimo was recently appointed to the County Board of Supervisors.
I was born in Mexico and was brought to the USA when I was 13 years old. In High School I was the Vice President and President of the Group “Raices” Floklorico and Vice President of Creativos a Hispanos group that support Hispanos other Latinos by creating events to pay for school fees. I also was part of Channel One to represent Hispanos in our diverse High School with over 3000 Students.
2006 – 2008 Was assistant Director for the BSA and help the program growth from 30 Hispanics members to 750 Hispanics Members to the program.
In 2008 was nominee for the “Heart Of Yuma” for bringing awareness to children from the age 6 to 18 years old about honesty, integrity, and moral values to Latino Communities in the Yuma County.
2008 -2014 Created and run a private organization call Green Devils were sponsors low income children of all ages to learn the core values of life and how to play soccer.
In 2016 start volunteering with Sunny Side Association helping with “Fiesta De Mayo” and “Fiestas De Independencia” also host a radio show in Spanish.
In 2018 started volunteering with the “Consul General De Mexico” with the program “Puerta a Puerta” and “Consul Mobil” in Flagstaff
Also, in 2018 volunteering with Interfaith local group with issues in about immigration in our communities.
In this year also hosting an event for the local community to talk about the issues our DACA's members face in the community. Also, talk about the transactions from High School to Higher Level Education.
In 2019 become official member of the Coconino Hispanic Advisory Council by serving as an official liaison and communications link between the Hispanic in the Coconino County.
In his new projects for the Hispanic community, I be co-authoring a book with the producer of the movie “Think and Grow Rich: Legacy” and author of “How Rich Asians Think: A Think and Grow Rich Publication”-John Shin. The book will be focuses about Hispanics solo entrepreneur and step to get to the American Dream.
The council is composed of volunteer members appointed by the Board of Supervisors. Members must reside in Coconino County. Members should also have an interest in the cultural events, achievements and concerns present in the Latino communities.
The Terms of members of the Council shall be four (4) years, without term limits. An appointment for a vacant position shall be for the unexpired portion of the term.
The council is currently recruiting interested citizens. Interested citizens are encouraged to submit an electronic application for membership to the council.