About Our Team

Cecilia Maya

Community Organizer/ESL Coordinator

Cecilia is a resident of Albany Park community for nine years. As alumni of the Adult High School Program of the Center, she is an example for the community. She now coordinates the ESL classes within the Center and works closely with our community partners.

Isabel Valenzuela

Community Organizer/Adult High School Administrator 

Isabel has 7 years of experience working with the Center. Chosen by the members of the community as its representative of the collective of the Autonomous Center. She now focuses on higher education for adults seeking their high school diplomas.

Gerardo Morante

Community Organizer/ IT Support Specialist

Long time community volunteer facilitating adult computer classes. Newest member of Centro Autonomo 

Astrid Diego

AUSM Coordinator

She participated, as a student, in the AUSM-Mexico study abroad program in the fall of 2011. She holds a BA in Spanish for the Professions from the University of Colorado at Boulder. As a member of UMAS y MEXA de CU Boulder, Astrid’s work as a community organizer and activist was geared towards issues of immigration, access to higher education, and health that surround the Chican@/Latin@ community. 

Dra. Maria Gloria Benavides Guevara


a professor of Spanish and Mexican culture in the Study Abroad Program. She holds a doctorate in anthropology from the CIESAS in Mexico City.

Dr. Tom Hansen

International Education Director

From 1988 to 1997 Tom was the Director of Pastors for Peace. From 1987 to 1988 he organized the first national material aid caravan to Latin America as National Coordinator of the Veterans Peace Convoy to Nicaragua. From 1984-1986 he was co-founder of the New York-Nicaragua Construction Brigade. He has a doctorate in rural development from the UAM-Xochimilco in Mexico City.

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