Guggenheim Hall dome

Mines Latinx Community Alliance

Mission Statement

The mission of the Mines Latinx Community Alliance is to help cultivate participant success through professional development, campus-wide community building, and the celebration of achievements. We aim to generate awareness of the Latinx identity by attracting and retaining the best faculty and staff, building reverence through our contributions, and supporting the Colorado School of Mines in its commitment to achieving a culture of inclusion and equality.

Guggenheim Hall dome

Statements of Support:

MLCA affirms that Black Lives Matter 

The Mines Latinx Community Alliance is deeply saddened by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as all others who have lost their lives as a direct result of widespread racism in our country. One piece of our mission is to support the Colorado School of Mines in its pursuit of a culture of inclusion and equality; we address it directly through our program offerings, community-building events, and in our engagement with the broader campus community. We are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 


MLCA stands in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American community

The Mines Latinx Community Alliance stands in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander American community and will continue to work to end racism and hate in all its forms. Racist and violent behavior against the Asian, Asian American, and the Pacific Islander community must stop. Scapegoating must stop, harassment must stop, and hate must stop.  We urge our Mines colleagues to denounce acts of racism and hate on our campus and within their own communities.

Board Members

Executive Sponsor: Kirsten Volpi

Andrés Guerra (Dré) Co-Chair

Dre is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Colorado School of Mines and is excited to work on the Mines Latinx Community Alliance to promote a better community for all.  Dre is heavily involved with students outside the classroom in his roles with the ASCE student chapters and as the faculty advisor for the Colorado School of Mines Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.   “I have always had a passion for teaching and mentoring,”  he says, “particularly in developing and implementing innovations in engineering education.”  Dre currently teaches courses civil engineering at Colorado School of Mines and enjoys spending time with his family, playing basketball, and fly-fishing.  He is a registered civil engineer in the State of Colorado and obtained his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Colorado School of Mines.    

Vanessa Rael, Social Media

Vanessa is a Project Manager in the Project and Change Management Office at the Colorado School of Mines. She is a Colorado native and received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Denver. Vanessa enjoys camping and bike riding with her husband and twin boys, as well as baking, crafts, and staying active. In fact, she is a Group Fitness Instructor on the side and teaches yoga, cycle, and strength-based fitness classes. Vanessa is passionate about building relationships and community with others and is excited to be a part of the Mines Latinx Community Alliance!

Noah Sandoval, Data and Evaluation

Noah Sandoval is a PhD student in the Advanced Energy Systems program. His research focuses on improving the energy efficiency of buildings through energy modeling and life cycle assessment. Before his time at Mines, Noah was a part of the 2014 Teach For America corps in Oklahoma where he taught high school science for three years before moving to Denver to teach for another two years. Noah identifies as Latino which was strongly influenced during his childhood growing up in Northern New MexicoNoah also serves on the Graduate School Government and as an Assistant Coach for the Mines Triathlon Club.  

Sherry Muniz, Secretary

Sherry Muniz is a Library Special Collections Preservation Specialist at Colorado School of Mines.  She has been a part of Mines for 15 years. Sherry is a native of Colorado and grew up in the North Denver area, she identifies as Hispanic.  In her free time Sherry loves spending time with family, movies and walking trails around town with family and friends. 

Aurea Tolnay, Community Relations & Fundraising
Sheri Atencio-Church, Treasurer

Sheri Atencio-Church was born and raised in the Bay Area, moving to Colorado in 1995 to earn a BS in Geology from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1998.  At that time, there was no work for a young Geologist as the oil and gas industry had tanked.  With a strong background in government, Sheri worked for many local municipalities and non-profit organizations.  When the opportunity to work for Colorado School of Mines presented itself, Sheri grabbed it to surround herself in an earth sciences environment she loves.  Sheri identifies as Hispanic, including some Peruvian/Incan heritage.  Her great great grandparents came to America directly from the northern Basque region of Spain, migrating to Colorado and New Mexico.  The Atencio’s are considered Pioneers for the State of Colorado.  Sheri is actively involved with Mines’ events and is currently also Treasurer for the Administrative Faculty Council (AFC).