Meet our TRIO Student Support Services Staff!
Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our TRIO Student Support Services Program (TRIO SSS) staff here at Washington State University. If you have questions about TRIO SSS, feel free to send us a message through our contact form.
Lucila Loera, Interim Director
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Connectedness, Achiever, Restorative, Learner, Discipline
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers/
Lucila Loera is the Executive Director with the Office for Access & Opportunity and Interim SSS Director at Washington State University/Pullman campus. She provides leadership and direction of institutional efforts to ensure the success and wellbeing of students. Concentrated efforts over the years include three areas: access for first-generation, migrant/seasonal farmworker students and low-income student populations; student development and retention; and procuring external funding for support services. She provides the executive leadership in areas of fiscal management, human resources, and legislative compliance of access and opportunity programs. Leading other initiatives include addressing Food Insecurity and First-Generation Initiatives such as 1GA abroad. She also serves as a member of the on-call crisis Student Affairs response team and board member and awards committee chair for the WSU Alumni Association. She is a long-standing resource, with a strategic ability to build institutional and interdisciplinary coalitions, and a catalyst for institutional efforts to build a diverse and inclusive campus environment.
Lucila earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology at Washington State University and her bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine. She is currently working on her doctorate degree at Colorado State University. Born and raised in Southern California she has been in Pullman for over 25 years with her husband, son, and now their newly adopted puppy.
Carrie Ben-Yisrael, Academic Coordinator / Retention Specialist
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Learner, Activator, Strategic, Focus, Command
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers
Carrie Bullock Ben-Yisrael serves as the Academic Coordinator/Retention Specialist for TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) located in Lighty 260 on WSU Pullman Campus. Though not an alumna, but was TRIO eligible, Carrie has been working with TRIO programs (UB, UBMS, McNair, and SSS) for over 13 years and is TRIO for LIFE! Her undergraduate degree (Mount Holyoke College) was designed specifically to address community development and organization on collegiate campuses, with a concentration on the needs of underrepresented populations at predominantly white institutions (PWIs). Her graduate work (The Citadel) is in student affairs and administration. In the last twelve years she has specifically concentrated on STEM/STEAM education access and exposure programming. As the founding associate director of TRIO’s McNair Scholars program, founding director of ACCESS programs at the College of Charleston, and the Upward Bound Math & Science (UBMS) academic/program coordinator at Trident Technical College, she knows and loves her craft of empowering scholars and has appreciated the opportunity to practice it in various environments, including rural and urban areas.
Hailing most recently from Charleston, SC, (Thanksgiving 2018) Carrie is also a proud mother of four and enjoys good storytelling via various platforms (museums, books, plays, dance, spoken word, etc.), spending time with her family, learning new things and skills, the outdoors, and anything that deals with the water – ocean, lakes, and rivers. She is SO excited to be here and is grateful that this leg of her journey has landed her here in Pullman, WA with TRIO SSS at WSU!
Hildegarde Velasco-Faga'autau, Program Coordinator
Hill-duh-gard Vuh-lass-co Fung-uh-ow-tau
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Achiever, Learner, Futuristic, Belief, Focus
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers
Hildegarde Velasco-Faga’autau joined the TRIO Student Support Services team in Fall of 2012 after receiving her B.A. in Sociology from Washington State University (Go Cougs!). She came to WSU as a first-generation, out-of-state student – not having seen the campus, or even traveled to Washington until coming for Fall Alive Orientation right before classes began. She quickly fell in love with the campus and community and found support through mentoring and various leadership opportunities as an undergraduate. She enjoys being a part of an amazing team that is invested in helping our students develop, achieve, and graduate. Hildegarde is originally from O'ahu, Hawai'i but enjoys living here in the Pacific Northwest and being able to experience all four seasons – especially fall. Outside of work, she loves attending student events, WSU athletics events, and spending time with her family, husband, and friends.
Nancy Barraza, Clerical Assistant
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Achiever, Discipline, Positivity, Consistency, Learner
Personal pronouns: she/her/hers
Nancy is a fourth-year student here at Washington State University studying kinesiology and spanish, pursuing a pre-physical therapy track. When asked what she enjoys about being a Coug, Nancy says 'what I enjoy about being a Coug is the school spirit and everyone looks out for their fellow Cougs'.
Alejandra Carranza, Clerical Assistant
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Belief, Analytical, Input, Restorative, Deliberative
Personal pronouns: Gender Fluid
Alejandra is a senior majoring in architectural studies and civil engineering with an emphasis in structures here at Washington State University. When asked what they enjoy about being a Coug, Alejandra says 'being a Coug means that I can shine in my own light but also receive support from my community. It means that I can give back to those who have helped me and need guidance to be successful'.
Francisco Espindola, Clerical Assistant
Top 5 Gallup CliftonStrengths Themes: Strategic, Ideation, Command, Self-Assurance, Restorative
Personal pronouns: he/him/his
Francisco is entering his third-year as a student here at Washington State University majoring in criminal justice and human development. As a third-year Coug, Francisco says that 'the sense of community one can find among the Cougs really has helped me bring out the best in me over the course of my time being a Coug'.
This grant has been 100% federally funded by the United States Department of Education to serve 160 scholars annually in the amount of $275,105 per year for a period of five years.