Peer Liaisons

Emily Almendarez (Silliman ‘20)

Head Peer Liaison

(Pronouns: She/Her(s)/Ella)

Hey there! My name is Emily and I’m a Senior in Silliman College (I used to be in JE – we don’t talk about it). I am majoring in Ethnicity, Race, and Migration. I am proudly Central American: Guatemalteca and Hondureña and I will NEVER let you forget it. I’ve been a part of MEChA de Yale, both as a member and as president, and have devoted the bulk of my time organizing alongside the New Haven and broader CT undocumented community. I’ve dabbled in various things on campus: from painting two murals in the Silliman basement, doing Helminth’s research in Guatemala for a Summer (get yourself a quasi-Stem literate Queen), to even getting published in the School of Forestry’s magazine. I’ve even written a poem or two. I’m not a fan of respectability politics, but my code switching is *chef’s kiss.* I have very strong opinions about animated movies (Surf’s up is and will always be better than Happy Feet, period). Spotify song suggestions are my love language. I have too many travel stories to count (chaos has always ensued). I’m here if you ever need someone to talk to, want to debate about early 2000s flicks/criticize the nature of our government, or just eat comfort food with.

Eduardo Leal (Berkeley ‘21)

Oi, tudo bem?

My name is Eduardo, but I also go by Dudu. I use he/him/his pronouns, and I was born and raised in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I’m a junior in Berkeley College majoring in Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Energy Studies. I’m very involved with STEM opportunities on campus, and I’d love to tell you about research and international opportunities. I’m also an active member of Brazil Club at Yale, and our weekly dinners are open for everyone who’s interested in Brazilian culture or the Portuguese language, so hit me up if you’d like to come! On a more artistic vibe, I’m president of Redhot & Blue, Yale’s oldest all-gender a cappella group and premiere jazz ensemble. I love music! Beyoncé is my favorite artist, but I’m also a huge fan of Rihanna, Frank Ocean, and Ariana Grande. I absolutely can’t live without Netflix, and I procrastinate way too much watching series and queer movies. If you ever want to talk about any of these things or just hang out, I’m your guy!

Brian Reyes (Berkeley ‘21)

Hi y’all! My name is Brian (he/him/his) and I’m a junior in Berkeley majoring in History. My family is from the Dominican Republic,and I was born and raised in NYC, and I rep both with loyalty. Some stuff about my Yale life: I’ve been fortunate enough to study abroad twice, with help from Yale both times. For the next two years, I’ll be working on a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship research project on (as of now) the history of the racial wealth gap and Black and Latinx entrepreneurship. I’m also co-pres of the Dominican Students Association, where I get to do work that explores not just Dominican culture, but Latinx and Caribbean diasporic identity in general. Outside of academics and extracurriculars, I spend a good amount of time trying to curate and diversify my music playlists (give me song suggestions please!), though I’m always grounded by that salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggaeton from my childhood. I hope to one day be a good enough dancer that a cousin records me at a family party and my video pops up when you search “Dominicans dancing bachata” on YouTube. Oh and when I need a break, I love me some good lighthearted TV shows like Brooklyn-99 and the Office. If y’all want to talk about any of these things, go grab a coffee or tea, or just talk, I gotchu.

Sandra Amézcua Rocha (Jonathan Edwards ‘22)

Hola! Hola! My name is Sandra but friends and family call me Sandi. I use she/her/hers pronouns. I was born and raised in El Monte, CA, just outside of East LA and my roots hail from Puebla and Michoacán, México. I am P’urhépecha and proudly rep my Mexican and indigenous heritage. I dance for Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Yale, tutor English at Mi Lupita Bakery in Fair Haven (ask me more about this!), and a member of MEChA de Yale. I am trying to get more involved in the Native American Cultural Center and the Yale Farm. My passions include educational mentoring/teaching and biocultural conservation work around underrepresented communities. I also love learning about food systems and Latin American literature, especially maíz and latinx matriarchies!

Zoe Morales Ervolino (Morse ‘20)

My name’s Zoe and, okay, I’ll admit it, I fully thought Ariana Grande was Latina until she called her grandma her “Nonna”. After a semester abroad in Cali, Colombia, I’ll be back on campus this fall for my senior year where you can catch me performing sketch and improv comedy with the Fifth Humour and Viola Question, respectively. I am a History major with a focus in Latin American history, which means that Henry Kissinger keeps coming up. Estoy tratando de practicar el español, así que si lo hablas, es mejor que hagamos un trato formal que lo hablaremos para asegurar que no lo perdamos. Let’s talk about ‘Afiliando Los Cuchillos’ and the political dimensions of Bad Bunny, or about Rosalía and J Balvin collaborations, or about Los Espookys. Ardent fan of Radio Ambulante. And the answer you’ve all been waiting for—yes, I’m in Morse and no, the no-right-angles thing isn’t “fun.” She her hers.

Kimberly Abarca (Ezra Stiles ‘22)

Hi everyone! My name is Kimberly but almost everyone calls me Kim. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, a 100% city girl who is ALWAYS down to go shopping. My roots are Salvadoran-Amerrican, so yes I do know how to make pupusas and can teach anyone who wishes to learn! I plan on applying to either Global Affairs or Ethics, Politics, & Economics and pursuing the Human Rights program. At Yale, I am a part of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, Yale Undergraduate Legal Aid Association, Yale Interpretation Network, and last but not least Danceworks. Feel free to come up to me and talk about anything that is on your mind and if you need a partner for any adventure, let me know!

Gabriel Perez (Saybrook ‘20)

Pronouns (He/Him/His)

Oh hey, didn’t see you there. My name is Gabe and I’m a senior in Saybrook. Not that you asked, but I’d say my ideal day involves me waking up hydrated and well-rested as I prepare to go munro bagging in Scotland with all my favorite people. Then, I get to the top and Mason Ramsey is there to give me a preview of his next hit and even asks me to feature on it, but I decline because I’m a nice guy and his success matters more to me than the obvious clout I would receive from it. He follows me on Instagram, and then I go home and eat some chips or something—I haven’t thought this one through…My normal days consist of being an East Asian Studies major, an NROTC midshipman, cutting hair in my suite, and just overall trying my best to get to class on time. I’m Chilean/Puertorican/Filipino and I’ve lived in Florida, Georgia, Spain, and England. I was First-Year Class Council Chair and during my sophomore year, I was YCC Student Life Director. I’m also a member of Zeta Psi fraternity. Hit me up about your ideal day or if you want any advice on how to gracefully enter a class 10 minutes in!

Sabrine Benzakour (Benjamin Franklin ‘22)

Hey! My name is Sabrine (she/her/hers) and I’m a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin (BF, Benny Frank, etc.). I’m a proud New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, but ethnically, I’m half Puerto Rican and half Moroccan — a Nuyorican? People have been telling me this idk. I’m a prospective Global Affairs major (I’m really interested in the Middle East), but Political Science and the Human Rights program are still on the table, so who knows? Outside of La Casa, I co-direct LEAD, a program for first years by the Yale Leadership Institute, and I also chair Model UN conferences and edit for an IR journal. Some of my favorite activities include fangirling over various Netflix shows (Jane the Virgin was my last obsession), knowing I’ll never cook as well as my abuela but trying anyway, and figuring out how to travel as much as possible with Yale’s money. If you ever need someone to tag along on a spontaneous trip, discuss (or rant) about anything going on in the world, or just chill, talk, and listen to music, I’m your girl!

Jaye Mejía-Duwan (Saybrook ‘20)

Hey everyone! My name is Jaye (they/them/theirs) and I’m a senior in Saybrook. My mom is from Cali, Colombia but somehow I grew up in central New Jersey between a sheep farm and a sorghum farm. I’m an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Environmental Justice, but I’m also guilty of taking 20 minute showers because it’s my favorite time to choreograph. I spent last semester doing weird experimental light design for some theaters in New York and I’m so excited to be back at school this fall. Sabrosura, Yale’s Latin dance team, is my family on campus, and I’ve also been the co-president of La Casa’s queer Latinx student group De Colores. My life aspirations include grad school and marrying Bad Bunny. If you’re ever in the mood to chat, fry some plátanos, or come visit my hamster just let me know!

Dennis Portillo (Pauli Murray ‘22)

Hey, hey, hey! My name is Dennis Portillo (he/him/his) and I’m a sophomore in Pauli Murray. I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, making me a proud Angelino. I am also a proud Central American as both of my parents are from Guatemala. Currently I’m undeclared but it looks like I’m planning on studying Political Science and Economics. At Yale, I’ve been a little all over the place but I am currently in charge of Community Engagement for La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Frat Inc (yes it’s a mouthful to say), the treasurer for the Boola, and an advisor for high school students through Matriculate. Aside from all that, I’m a big fan of “decompressing” which is where I sit down with a person and talk with them for hours on end before I go back to start my work. I consider myself an avid coffee fanatic, a sports enthusiast (la blaugrana especially), a pokemon connoisseur, and a *keyword amatuer* photographer. I also love music and usually you’ll catch me listening to some Anderson .Paak, BROCKHAMPTON, or Cuco. If you ever want someone to grab coffee or take you up on that “let’s get a meal sometime”, just let me know!

Katerina Robles (Davenport ‘21)

Holis! I’m Katerina, but people also call me Katy or Kat. I’m a New Jersey Colombian with a crazy amount of energy who loves to dance, talk, and laugh. I am a rising Junior in Davenport, but it’s only my second year at Yale since I transferred from Northeastern University. I study Applied Math with a focus in Computer Science and take random classes way outside my field. At Yale, I’m a part of a few La Casa groups (MEChA de Yale, Club Colombia, Sabrosura, and LWAY). Outside of Yale, I volunteer on Wednesday mornings at a soup kitchen, play pick up soccer, dance salsa at a nearby restaurant, and box at a ring in New Haven. Oh and of course hit up the local Mexican food trucks at the bay. Most importantly I love meeting new people and asking random questions so let’s definitely meet up!!

Adriana Colon Adorno (Trumbull ‘20)

Hello! My name is Adriana and I love greeting with hugs, but will always ask because I know it’s not everyone’s thing. I’m from Puerto Rico and grew up mostly in Connecticut (#suburbia), so let me know if you ever want fun things to do outside of campus or in PR. I’m an Environmental Studies major concentrating in wetlands and conservation, so if you ever want to hear a 10 minute rant on swamps or pollinators, I’m your girl. I’m also a proud Co-President of Despierta Boricua (the PR student organization), Bee Space (the beekeeping club, yes we have one of those!), vegetarian, and involved with the Association of Native Americans at Yale and the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. Basically, I’m always eager to talk if you want an event to go to or if you just want to chat about anything from climate activism and cooking to sci-fi and gardening!

Alexandra Rocha-Álvarez (Hopper ‘22)

Hey ya’ll! My name is Alex and I’m a sophomore in Saybrook College. I don’t know what I’m studying yet but I’m excited to explore more options this year. I’m from Watsonville, California and was raised in a family of Mexican farmworkers. During the school year I’m a part of MEChA de Yale, La Casa’s social justice group. I also write for DOWN Magazine, which is run entirely by and for students of color. Besides school and clubs, I love to watch trashy television, including the Bachelor, Brooklyn 99, Riverdale, and EUPHORIA. If you ever need a buddy to binge watch a show with (not during finals, of course), I’m your girl!