TRIO Leadership

Senior Director for TRIO Programs

Ray Cordero, M.P.A

Bio picture of Ray Cordero

Ray Cordero currently serves as Senior Director for TRIO Programs at Texas State. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University. Mr. Cordero currently serves as the President for the Texas TRIO Association, and as a board member for the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs for TRIO. He has made TRIO his life's work, serving in several leadership capacities at the state and regional levels, and has worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education on innovative programming centered around music and media engagement.
 
Mr. Cordero’s additional work includes a partnership with Dr. Raphael Travis in the School of Social Work that utilizes music and entrepreneurship as mediums for educational access and wellbeing for first generation students.  

Senior Administrative Coordinator for TRIO Programs / Upward Bound

CRYSTAL ANDERSON

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Crystal Anderson is a first-generation graduate with a B.A. in Professional & Technical Writing and a minor in Gender Studies. She came to Texas State University in June of 2021 as the Grant Senior Secretary for Talent Search – Austin. Crystal is currently the Senior Administrative Coordinator for TRIO Programs / Upward Bound. In her spare time, she loves to travel, eat good food, and spend time with her family and friends enjoying life.

Directors of TRIO Programs

Upward Bound Programs

Ray Cordero, M.P.H.

bio picture of Ray Cordero

Ray Cordero currently serves as Senior Director for TRIO Programs at Texas State as well as Upward Bound. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and a Masters of Public Administration from Texas State University. Mr. Cordero currently serves as the President for the Texas TRIO Association, and as a board member for the Southwest Association of Student Assistance Programs for TRIO. He has made TRIO his life work, serving in several leadership capacities at the state and regional levels, and has worked with the Council for Opportunity in Education on innovative programming centered around music and media engagement.

Mr. Cordero’s additional work includes a partnership with Dr. Raphael Travis in the School of Social Work that utilizes music and entrepreneurship as medians for educational access and wellbeing for first generation students.

Student Support Services

Rachael Weldon-Caron

bio picture of Rachael Weldon-Caron

Rachael Weldon-Caron is a highly experienced administrator with over 10 years’ experience in higher education as a TRIO Director for Talent Search and Student Support Services. As the current Director for Student Support Services (SSS) and Student Support Services STEM (SSS STEM), she provides coordination, implementation, direction, and evaluation of services related to the program’s goals and objectives as well as writing grant proposals. Prior to her work at Texas State University, she worked in Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Fiscal Management, Budget Development, Supervision and Staff Management and as CEO of her own non-profit. In addition, she authored and self-published two books, Secret Sins of the Heart, which chronicles her triumphant life’s journey from childhood to the present, and Life Beyond the Pain, a story of grief, faith, and love.

Talent Search - Austin

Liz Castañeda, M.S.W.

bio picture of LIZ CASTAÑEDA

Since joining the Texas State University staff in 2010, Ms. Castañeda has served in multiple capacities within Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and University Administration. Liz’s current role as Director for the Talent Search-Austin program allows her commitment for serving vulnerable populations to be at the forefront of her daily obligations. As a proud product of the labor camps of South Florida and the colonias of South Texas, her experiences remain at the forefront of her work and guide her passion of being of service to others.

Liz is an active community leader and has a love for people and culture, and is dedicated to dismantling structures of oppression that prevent human potential from thriving. Liz is an alum of Texas State University and holds a BSW and MSW with a concentration in Administrative Leadership from Texas State University. She is currently working on obtaining her PhD in Adult, Professional, and Community Education at Texas State University, and her research interests include higher ed access and achievement in underserved populations, the advancement of social justice issues, Latina/Chicana identity formation , and community development and engagement as a public pedagogy.

Liz loves spending time with family and friends and enjoys traveling when not focused on work or school.

Talent Search - Del Valle

CYNTHIA MENDIETA-GILL

bio picture of Cynthia Mendieta-Gill

Cynthia Mendieta-Gill earned her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, Master of Science in Educational Administration, and a Master of Education in Adult Education. For over 20 years, Cynthia has been a teacher, an assistant principal, and a program coordinator.  Her inspiration in education was my 3rd grade teacher. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and cooking in the kitchen.

Talent Search - San Marcos

CAROLINA BENAVIDES, M.B.A

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Carolina Benavides grew up in Laredo, TX and has been a proud San Martian since 2012. She received her Bachelors in Exercise and Sports Science and a Maters In Business Administration from Texas State University. She has  worked with the Texas State TRIO programs for the past 5 years in several roles. She is passionate about educating and empowering the next generation of students, so they can excel not only academically, but in all aspects of their lives. In my spare time, I like to hike and camp, read books, and solve puzzles

Talent Search - Seguin

DR. REBECCA LANCASTER

bio picture of  DR. REBECCA LANCASTER

Dr. Rebecca Lancaster is a lifelong educator; she started at 3 with my Mom as she attended college, she attended the college’s child development center. She became a teacher and I thought she had the best job ever! For over 30 years, she has been a public education teacher, an assistant principal and principal in several states and England. She enjoys the university experience and has taught at that level but working with TS allows her even more opportunities to touch the future. She believes  that our students hold the keys to make the world a better place for all of us. In her spare time, she loves being a new grandmother, practicing yoga and dabbling into genealogy.

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