JUNTOS Team Members

Elma Lorenzo-Blanco
Principal Investigator

Lorenzo-Blanco’s research investigates how issues related to culture, ethnicity, gender, family, and media come together to influence the health and well-being of Latina/o youth and families in the U.S. and Latin American countries. One of Lorenzo-Blanco's longterm goals is to translate her research into social-justice oriented preventive interventions. She is currently working with working with community stakeholders in Austin schools to develop culturally-senstive and developmentally-appropriate preventive interventions for Latina/o youth and families.

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Kimberly Henriquez
Graduate Student

My name is Kimberly (Kim) Henriquez and I am a first-year graduate student. I graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017 where I majored in Psychology and minored in Anthropology. My time as an undergraduate student solidified my research interests around understanding how cultural factors influence developmental psychopathology within Latinx adolescents and how these findings may be used to shape and disseminate culturally-sensitive evidence-based interventions. Thus, joining the JUNTOS lab and being able to work with Dr. Lorenzo-Blanco was a perfect fit. During my free time, I love to play online games with friends, watch fantasy movies, and explore places to eat.

Isabella Hernandez
Project Coordinator

Hi y'all, I'm Isabella!! I'm a HAHDFS major here at UT (UT'22.5) and am currently serving as the project coordinator for the JUNTOS Lab after spending 2 or so years as an RA with the lab. If someone were to ask me my favorite part about my college experience so far, I would have to say JUNTOS. I decided to Join  project JUNTOS my freshman year as an effort to explore a research interest of mine, which is the parenting practices of Latinx Immigrant families in the US. I have been very grateful to have Dr. Lorenzo-Blanco and Kim advise me on my senior honors thesis that covers the very research interest that I entered the lab with (ask me about how to get involved with the Lab for your thesis!). The environment in JUNTOS is so friendly and inclusive, one of the major reasons why I chose JUNTOS. Other than that, I am interested in arts mentoring, house plants, camping, and the beautiful nature that Texas has to offer. Welcome to our lab!

Emily Neuschaefer
Research Assistant

My name is Emily Neuschaefer, and I am a junior at The University of Texas at Austin. I'm a proud Puerto Rican, but I was born and raised in Houston, TX. I am majoring in Honors in Advanced Human Development and Family Sciences, and I am on the All-girl UT cheer team. My research interests include adolescent mental health and racial inequality, so JUNTOS was a perfect fit as we explore the college transition for LatinX students. During my free time, I love to bake cookies and cupcakes, read SciFi novels, and listen to Broadway musicals.

Desiree Ortega
Research Assistant
My name is Desiree Ortega (she/her/ella) and I am currently a UT undergrad double majoring in Neuroscience and Mexican-American & Latina/o Studies! I am really excited to be a part of JUNTOS! I am a first-generation college student. I grew up in the south-side of Chicago, and education has always been at the forefront of my life. The area I grew up in did not have access to the best resources and the high school graduation rates were low. Going into college, I wanted to make the utmost effort to help others in similar situations as me. Access to resources whether it be educational or health is what drives my academic interests. I am extremely passionate about mental health and how it is impacted by social influence which includes public policy. I hope to continue my work and academic interests by going to grad school and focusing on public health and health policy! My hobbies include hiking and Tae Kwon Do!
Fernanda Calderon
Research Assistant

My name is Fernanda Calderon and I am a second-year at The University of Texas at Austin. I have always been extremely interested in mental health and marginalized groups, especially when having to do with children, adolescents, and young adults, so I am on the Pre-Medical track majoring in Psychology B.S. with the hope of becoming a Psychiatrist. I was born in Mexico and grew up very immersed in the culture, so even though I moved to the U.S. at a very young age, I have a deep love and appreciation for my Latinx/Hispanic community.  Given that my family moved around a lot I attended three different high schools: my first two high schools were very well-off schools with numerous resources; however, my third high school had a population that was mainly economically disadvantaged, with the majority being Latinx/Hispanic. Due to the drastic difference between my first two high schools as opposed to the third in the support students received from both school and their parents along with the different lifestyles led by the students outside of school, I was keen on joining a research project that deeply looked into the stressors various Latinx/Hispanic students face that affect their education in order to provide them with more resources and support, which is exactly what JUNTOS does. During my free time I love to watch Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube; hang out with my friends and family; exercise; and sleep! 🙂

Alyssa Carrasco

My name is Alyssa Carrasco. I am a third-year majoring in psychology and Plan II honors with a minor in sociology. I am was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois but I have resided in San Antonio, Texas for the past few years. I am a first-generation college student and my academic passions lie between the intersection of child development and multicultural psychology. I am particularly interested in investigating child-rearing practices and their influence on emotional development within Hispanic cultures. What drew me to the JUNTOS lab was the projects’ focus on cultural stressors and coping mechanisms which resonated heavily with my passions. In the future, I hope to become a child development psychologist and bring awareness to mental health issues and disparities within Latinx/Hispanic populations. During my free time, I love to bake desserts, paint, and spend time with my friends and family!

Emely Villatoro

My name is Emely Villatoro, a third year psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin. I am a proud Salvadoran-American, born and raised in Houston, TX. I hope to become a psychiatrist and help bring awareness to mental health, especially in communities where such talk isn’t prevalent as well as advocating for social justice in Latinx communities. I joined Project JUNTOS because as a first generation Latina student, I know how hard and intimidating the world of college can be. Not only do I know how hard navigating to and through college is as a first gen student, but I also understand how hard and scary it must be as a parent who is first introduced to the process. I am honored to be a part of Dr. Lorenzo-Blanco’s research team and am keen to collaborate on infographics that will make the transition to college for both the student and their families as easy and as informational as possible. During my free time, I like to go to the gym or play with my adorable dog, Zoe!

Faroha Khan

My name is Faroha Khan (she/her/ella). I am currently a UT undergrad majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Educational Psychology, and I am very excited to be part of the JUNTOS team!  I am originally from Houston. I am a first-generation college student. As a result, I am extremely interested in topics related to mental health and resources for first-generation students. Additional research areas that fascinate me are developmental and educational psychology. My future career goals include research, healthcare, and academia. I hope to contribute and learn a lot as part of the team. In my free time, I love reading, listening to music, and learning new languages.