Meet The Team
Jorge Garcia founded CESOSS with the mentorship of Santiago Maestas and the support of Virginia Necochea back in 2011. Jorge has worked and studied at the University of New Mexico since 1997. He is currently working for El Centro de la Raza, and he is enrolled in the Chicana/o Studies program working toward getting a Ph.D. Jorge currently serves as the Mayordomo for the Armijo Acequia Association. Jorge's studies and work focus on projects that support the social, cultural, political, and economic development of marginalized communities. He has served as an advisor to the Indigenous Women Network from Latin America on issues related to biodiversity and the protection of traditional knowledge. He developed a social paradigm known as the Quadruple Helix of Strategic Alliances that was endorsed by the Organization of American States and presented in the United Nations Initiative on the Development of the Information Society. He is directly associated with many other local, national, and international community initiatives, including international efforts to safeguard Traditional Knowledge associated with Biodiversity, as well as the study and implementation of indigenous calendars. For more information, go to https://unm.academia.edu/JorgeAGarcia.
Noemí was born in Farmington, New Mexico and raised in the South Valley of Albuquerque. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and graduated with High Honors from Lewis University. Noemí also holds a cosmetology license in the State of New Mexico and has worked at the University of New Mexico since 2009. Her desire is to be an agent of change by working with diverse communities and being of service to others. She strives every day to be a good role model to her two beautiful kids, Cisco and Brissa, whom give her the strength and courage to overcome all odds. Noemí enjoys spending quality time with her family, exploring the outdoors, traveling, and riding her Virago.
Lauren Baca is originally from Gallup, New Mexico. She moved to Albuquerque in 2016 to attend UNM and earned her Bachelor's in Philosophy Pre-Law & Women's Studies in 2020. She is currently working towards her Master's in Legal Studies at the University of Arizona. We are proud to announce that Lauren is an alum of our Leadership Institute and now coordinates CESOSS' educational programs.
Xavier Vallejo was born in Pomona, California and raised in Tijeras, New Mexico. His pronouns are he/him. He is a business student at the University of New Mexico and a member of the Red Wolf Clan. Xavier holds several years of professional experience in community relations, program development, event production, and servant leadership. He is passionate about issues related to health and social equity.
Alicia Chavez is from New Mexico forever forever. Her mom’s family comes from Las Vegas, NM and her dad’s family comes from Torréon, NM. Alicia has dedicated her life to working in community for justice and peace. She currently works with Food Corps. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and Journalism and a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning. Alicia loves plants, cookies, being an explorer and learning.
Santiago Maestas co-founded CESOSS with Jorge Garcia to focus on projects that support the social, cultural, political and economic development of the South Valley of Albuquerque. Santiago retired in 2001 after 25 yrs. of public service to the citizens of the State of New Mexico. He received his BA in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology in 1970 and obtained a Bachelor of Social Work License in 1996. Santiago currently serves as the President for the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias (SVRAA), Mayordomo for the Don Gabino Andrade Acequia Association, Commissioner of the Pajarito Acequia Association, and member of the Concilio of the New Mexico Acequia Association. He is also President of the Board of Directors of La Plazita Institute, a non-for profit in the South Valley of Albuquerque that rehabilitates adjudicated youth and adults, and a founding member of the Indio-Hispano Academy of Agricultural Arts & Science. His English name is James, he was baptized Santiago, he was born Xochitl on the 20th day of the Calendar of the Sun, and has been named Tzam A' (protector of water) by Mayan Mam Elder Kamilakap.
Newest Board Member (2019-Present)
Andrea is a grandmother with four grandchildren Bobby, Fabian, Veronika and Sebastian, the mother of three daughters, Aurora, Marisol and Marina and wife to Pablo Lopez whom she married in 1975. She holds a BA in Child Development with a psychology minor from Cal State University, Northridge. She taught for 18 years in the LA Unified School District, Child Development Division in California. She worked 5 years for Camp Fire Boys and Girls here in Albuquerque and voted as employee of the year in 1997. Since 1999 she has worked for Youth Development Inc. as a Head Start Teacher at the Alameda Center. Andrea dances with the Aztec Danza group, Circulo Solar Ollin Xochipilli and is the women’s leader at the Tsa-ya-toh Wi Wang Wacipilo (Sundance). She has always been involved in community work since her high school days in Los Angeles. She loves the South Valley and has lived there since 1996.
Dr. Rip Anderson
Newest Board Member (2019-Present)
Previous Board members
CESOSS recognizes the long lasting hardworking of our previous board members. We thank each of them for their impact.
Dr. virginia necochea
Past board member & executive director
past board member
PAST BOARD MEMBER
past board member