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Texas State University

TRIO Leadership

Senior Director for TRIO Programs

Ray Cordero, M.P.A

Bio picture of Ray Cordero

Ray Cordero currently serves as Senior Director for TRIO Programs at Texas State. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University. Mr. Cordero currently serves as the President for the Texas TRIO Association, and as a board member for the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs for TRIO. He has made TRIO his life's work, serving in several leadership capacities at the state and regional levels, and has worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education on innovative programming centered around music and media engagement.
 
Mr. Cordero’s additional work includes a partnership with Dr. Raphael Travis in the School of Social Work that utilizes music and entrepreneurship as mediums for educational access and wellbeing for first generation students.  

Senior Administrative Coordinator for TRIO Programs / Upward Bound

Carolina Benavides, M.B.A

bio picture of Carolina Benavides

Carolina Benavides grew up in Laredo, TX and moved to San Marcos shortly after high school. She received her Bachelor’s in Exercise and Sports Science and a Masters in Business Administration from Texas State University. In her free time she likes to go hiking, read books or do crossword puzzles.

For the past 4 years, Carolina has managed budgets, purchasing and the hiring process for TRIO at Texas State.  She also oversees the administrative functions for Upward Bound.

Directors of TRIO Programs

Upward Bound Programs

Ray Cordero, M.P.H.

bio picture of Ray Cordero

Ray Cordero currently serves as Senior Director for TRIO Programs at Texas State as well as Upward Bound. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration from Texas State University. Mr. Cordero currently serves as the President for the Texas TRIO Association, and as a board member for the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs for TRIO. He has made TRIO his life work, serving in several leadership capacities at the state and regional levels, and has worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education on innovative programming centered around music and media engagement.

Mr. Cordero’s additional work includes a partnership with Dr. Raphael Travis in the School of Social Work that utilizes music and entrepreneurship as medians for educational access and wellbeing for first generation students.

Student Support Services

Rachael Weldon-Caron

bio picture of Rachael Weldon-Caron

Rachael Weldon-Caron is a highly experienced administrator with over 10 years’ experience in higher education as a TRIO Director for Talent Search and Student Support Services. As the current Director for Student Support Services (SSS) and Student Support Services STEM (SSS STEM), she provides coordination, implementation, direction, and evaluation of services related to the program’s goals and objectives as well as writing grant proposals. Prior to her work at Texas State University, she worked in Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Fiscal Management, Budget Development, Supervision and Staff Management and as CEO of her own non-profit. In addition, she authored and self-published two books, Secret Sins of the Heart, which chronicles her triumphant life’s journey from childhood to the present, and Life Beyond the Pain, a story of grief, faith, and love.

Talent Search - Austin

Liz Castañeda, M.S.W.

bio picture of LIZ CASTAÑEDA

Since joining the staff of Texas State University in 2010, Ms. Castañeda has served in multiple capacities within Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and University Administration.  Liz’s current role as Program Coordinator for Educational Talent Search allows her commitment for serving vulnerable populations to be at the forefront of her daily obligations.  An active community leader, Liz has a passion for people and culture, and is dedicated to dismantling structures of oppression that prevent those two from thriving. 

A third-year doctoral student in the Adult, Professional and Community Education program at Texas State University, Liz also holds a BSW and an MSW with a concentration in Administrative Leadership also from Texas State University.  Her research interests include higher ed access and achievement in underserved populations, advancing diversity and social justice issues, Latina Identity formation, and community development and engagement as a public pedagogy. Liz also loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys traveling when not focused on work or school. 

Talent Search - San Marcos

Chelsea Moore, M.S.W.

bio picture of CHELSEA MOORE

Chelsea Moore is a proud first-generation college student and Terry Scholar Alumna. She graduated from Texas State University with degrees in Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her current professional interests are in creating a college going culture for under-represented communities by using data and research as a tool to bridge the divide between theory and practice in post-secondary attainment. The mentorship of the staff in Institutional Inclusive Excellence – Student Initiatives and her professional experience with Talent Search has motivated her to apply for and pursue a doctoral degree in education. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing Dungeons and Dragons.

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