Chris Peña, Executive Editor: Chris leads the editorial and business operations of NBC Latino. Chris was previously Assistant News Director at NBC-owned WMAQ in Chicago. He was also Executive Producer at NBC-owned WTVJ in Miami and News Director at Telemundo-owned KTMD in Houston. Chris emigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1981. He is a 1996 graduate of the University of Houston, and the proud father of two children
Follow Chris on Twitter @PenaChristian
Betty Cortina, Consulting Senior Web Producer: After 15 years as a writer and editor for magazines such as People, Entertainment Weekly, O, the Oprah Magazine and Latina (where she was Editorial Director for seven years), Betty came to NBC News to create a website that engages and inspires the American Hispanic. A Cuban-American born in Chicago and raised in Miami, she is passionate about all things Hispanic (especially the food!) She holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Florida, and an A.A. in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University. She focuses on the site’s strategic development, special projects and partnerships plus oversees our food coverage.
Maria Eugenia Alcon, Deputy Editor: Maria Eugenia began her career as a producer for CBS Telenoticias in 1997 and a year later left to work for NBC News. Her last position was as an Emmy Award-winning producer for Nightly News with Brian Williams where she covered many of the last decade’s important stories, including the dramatic saga of the Chilean miners and the Haiti Earthquake tragedy. Maria Eugenia also spent six years as a field producer traveling across the United States and Latin America for the NBC News Atlanta Bureau. This proud NYU graduate was born in Colombia and raised in Spain, before moving to New York City at age 11.
Follow Maria on Twitter @NBCNewsAlcon.
Nina Terrero, Web Producer: Passionate about social issues, health, education, discovering untold stories among U.S. Latinos and exploring Latino culture through food, literature, theatre and the arts, she holds a B.A. in Government from Cornell University. She is also a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Science, where she received an M.A. in Political Science. Of Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage, Nina worked at ABC News as a digital reporter before joining the team at NBC Latino. Feel free to ask her about the latest films, urban political policy, curly hair products or her most recent forays in cooking and eating around New York City.
Adrian Carrasquillo, Web Producer/Social Media: A multimedia journalist with a love for (read: obsession with) social media and how it interacts with news. He is of Puerto Rican/Ecuadorian descent and went to Stuyvesant High School before graduating from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. He worked at MyFoxNY.com and Fox News Latino before joining NBC Latino. Adrian sought to continue his work in Latino news because he believes there are stories out there asking to be told and a community that deserves a news site that reflects the nuance, richness and depth of the U.S. Latino experience.
Sandra Lilley, Web Producer: Sandra loves being an active part of our “national conversation”, on everything from politics, education and the economy to the latest books and people in the news. Sandra started out in Telemundo-NY as a general assignment reporter and later News Director. She was also a Dayside Managing Editor at MSNBC and a Planning Editor for the NBC Domestic Desk. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Sandra studied history at Brown University, and currently lives in New Jersey with her family. Sandra hopes our site inspires and informs Latinos as they work toward their family’s “American Dream.”
Kristina Puga, Web Producer: A graduate of Barnard College and The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Kristina is the product of an Ecuadorian father and a Russian mother. Raised in culturally diverse Queens, NY, she has been covering the Latino community for about a decade for publications such as the New York Daily News, AOL Latino, NYRemezcla.com, and Urban Latino. She loves to travel and experience different foods and cultures while discovering interesting characters along the way and telling their stories. After a long stay in Oaxaca, Mexico, she now considers it her second home. According to legend, she will be back since she ate chapulines there.
Ignacio Torres, Video/Web Producer: Graduated from University of California, Davis and The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism where he specialized in immigration reporting. Ignacio is a California native but born and raised in a small town in Mexico called, Huisquilco, where his parents currently reside. A foodie at heart, Ignacio is always in search of the next best taco truck. He has worked for the TODAY Show, Rock Center and has covered politics for La Opinion newspaper based in Los Angeles.
Norma Rubio, West Coast Web Producer: Norma is always looking for stories about Latinos making a difference in our local communities. Norma started out as a desk assistant at KING 5 in Seattle. She became a regional producer at NBC News Channel in Los Angeles, before moving to the network assignment desk as an editor producer and a digital journalist in the Western Region. Mexican-American, born and raised in Kansas, Norma has covered stories like the Conrad Murray trial, Arizona’s immigration debate and the midterm elections. The lure of the ocean, though, brought her to Seattle where she studied Communication (B.A.) at Seattle Pacific University. Her best moments are spent doing yoga and hanging out at the beach.
Diana Alvear, NBC News Correspondent: Passionate about telling stories that touch the heart. Born in Bogota, Colombia to Chilean parents, she was raised in Miami so she’s something of a Latino stew! She attended University of Florida and received her Master’s in journalism from University of Maryland. She honed her reporting in the Midwest and is now happy to call Los Angeles home. Her most memorable assignment was reporting live from Copiapo, Chile during the rescue of the 33 miners. Diana loves her family, animals, her hometown, appreciates good Latin cooking — especially Cuban food — and savors a tasty Pisco Sour every now and then.
Olivia Santini, West Coast Contributor: Olivia and her 2 siblings were raised in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The children of a Puerto Rican father and ‘Nuyorican’ mother– her parents decided on South Florida because of the ample sunshine and sabor Latino. After graduating from the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL in 1998, she joined the newsroom staff at WFTS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tampa. Olivia started working as an assignment editor for NBC News in 2000 on their National Network Desk. She moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to work a desk editor, then later as an associate producer and digital journalist in the NBC News Burbank Bureau. Among Olivia’s most memorable assignments: covering 3 Olympic games for NBC News (2004 Athens, 2006 Torino, 2008 Beijing). She’s also covered countless stories of importance, including the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, and the rescue of 33 Chilean Miners in 2010, to name a few. This bilingual producer loves to travel and dance, adores the beach, and can’t stand still if there’s a good, bumping beat. DALE!
Follow Olivia on Twitter or Instagram: @Cali28fornia or email her at Olivia.Santini@nbcuni.com
Stephen is a proud native of Los Angeles, born in the historically rich city of Boyle Heights, California. With a B.A. from UCLA and a Ph.D. from UC Irvine in Political Science, Stephen’s research focuses on examining the role that ethnicity and citizenship play in political integration, mobilization and partisanship. His particular interest is in using his research to explore the commonalities and differences between Latinos and the various aspects of our political system. Stephen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University and lives in the picturesque mountain town of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Follow Stephen on Twitter @StephenANuno.
Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto received her Ph.D. from Duke University and was named one of the top 12 scholars in the country by Diverse magazine. Victoria is a Senior Analyst for Latino Decisions and a Fellow at the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas-Austin. Her research and political analysis focuses on: campaigns and elections, political marketing, race and ethnic politics, and immigration. Victoria is a proud native of Cochise County in Southern Arizona. She is of Italian-Jewish-Mexican heritage and lives in beautiful Austin, Texas with her husband Neftali J. Garcia.
Follow Victoria on Twitter @DrVMDS.
Jack Rico is the founder and editor in chief of ShowBizCafe Media, the first online bilingual movie destination devoted exclusively to US Hispanics. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Jack made journalism history when he was part of the founding on-air anchors that launched Univision’s Al Despertar in 1999, the first Spanish language morning newscast in New York City. Over the course of his 9 year tenure at Univision, he developed the first of its kind lifestyle and entertainment segment: El Minuto Broadway – theater reviews targeted to New York City’s Spanish speaking audiences. Rico holds a degree in journalism from Miami Dade and has been awarded various television awards, including the Associated Press, El Diario ‘EL‘ Award and The Ace Award. He is currently a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, one of the most prestigious and largest film critic organizations in the United States, as well as the New York Film Critics Online. In 2011 Jack was named Chair of the ¡Viva Broadway! Advisory Board, the first Hispanic initiative of The Broadway League.
Born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, Esther J. Cepeda started writing before her scribbles adequately conveyed her musings. She attended Lane Technical High School then went on to Southern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with minors in music and psychology. After being awarded a full scholarship to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she studied Integrated Marketing Communications there before going into direct marketing and public relations for a variety of Chicago companies. In 2002 Ms. Cepeda began teaching as a bilingual teacher in low-income grammar and high schools in the suburbs of Chicago while working toward a Master’s degree in Special Education from Roosevelt University. Before joining the Chicago Sun-Times in 2006, then becoming Chicago’s first Latino metro columnist, Ms. Cepeda wrote about national and local politics and social issues for Illinois newspapers and magazines across the country.
Lalo Alcaraz is perhaps the most prolific Chicano artist in the nation, according to this bio. He is a satirist providing humorous video commentary for NBC Latino. Lalo has been busy for over two decades chronicling the political ascendancy of Latinos in America and vigorously pushing the boundaries of Chicano art in the Post Chicano Art Era. He is the creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha,” seen in scores of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times (syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate, home of “Doonesbury” and “The Boondocks.”) Lalo has produced editorial cartoons for the L.A. Weekly since 1992 and also creates editorial cartoons in English and Spanish for Universal. Mi Ciudad Magazine named him “Best Latino Cartoonist in Los Angeles,” and Lalo has also been featured by Rolling Stone Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Associated Press, Editor & Publisher and profiled extensively in the Comics Journal.
Monica Olivera Hazelton is an NBC Latino contributor and the founder and publisher of MommyMaestra.com, a site for Latino families that homeschool, as well as families with children in a traditional school setting who want to take a more active role in their children’s education. She is the 2011 winner of the “Best Latina Education Blogger” award by Latinos in Social Media.
Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City. He is a member of the Board of Contributors of USA Today and has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor. He is a contributor to MSNBC, CNN, Current TV, NPR, and Fox News Radio. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School.
Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, and lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America’s spiciest and largest minority. The column has a weekly circulation of over 2 million in 39 newspapers across the United States, won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies award for Best Column, and was published in book form by Scribner Press in May 2007. Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one of whom was undocumented.
Danny Vargas, President of marketing consulting firm VARCom Solutions. Former Commissioner, National Museum of the American Latino Commission, Former National Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, regular MSNBC contributor, U.S. Air Force veteran raised in NYC.
Eneida I. DelValle has worked in all areas of media from radio, television and print, traveling across the United States and Puerto Rico covering both the Latino and non-Latino communities. She’s passionate about telling people’s stories, social issues, education and politics but most importantly changing the way the world views Latinos. She previously worked at PBS-owned Spanish Language station V-me and Peacock Productions a division of NBC News. A self-professed news junkie, book worm, art and music lover, you can frequently find her at a rock or salsa concert and photographing the streets of New York. She graduated with honors from of The City College of New York, CUNY with a BA in Journalism and Minor in photography. She was born in Puerto Rico and was raised in Brooklyn by her mom who’s her hero.