Samuel Acevedo has served as the Executive Director of the Boston Higher Education Resource Center (HERC) since its founding in 1999. Sam is also on staff at the Congregación León de Judá (CLJ) which served as the fiscal conduit for the Boston HERC until 2018. Sam is a founding Co-Chairs of the Boston School Committee’s Opportunity and Achievement Gap Task Force; and recently served on the Superintendent Search Committee which helped select Brenda Casselius. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Stetson University (1985); and a J.D., cum laude, from Boston College Law School (1993). Prior to his current role, Sam served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel litigating juvenile delinquency cases in New York City’s Family Court until joining the staff of Congregación León de Judá in 1999. Sam also serves on the board of the Ten Point Coalition, Boston Trinity Academy, and the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministry and Education (CUME). He and his wife, Marina, were married in July of 2001.
Carolina De Jesus serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Boston Higher Education Resource Center after serving as the Passport to College Program Director between 2012 and 2022. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst in Business and Communication and a Master’s in Education from Lesley University. Carolina also completed a certificate in Leadership & Management in Nonprofits at Boston University. She has extensive youth education experience, including as a college access coordinator at Middlesex Community College, an after school coordinator at Citizen Schools, and an ESL teacher in South Korea. As a first-generation college grad herself, Carolina has always been passionate about helping young people discover the greatness that lies within them and helping them to unleash those gifts and talents that will change the world. In her free time, Carolina is a missionary in Latin America and she loves to read, learn, and eat great food. If she could choose a place to live in eternally- it would be the beach!
Erin Diaz serves as our Chief Operating Officer, rejoining the Boston HERC team in 2017 as the Director of Operations. She was also the Adult Education Program Director from 2006 to 2008. In the interim, she was a leader in several non profits including as a Campaign Director at Corporate Accountability and a health organizer at Unite Here Health. She brings over 10 years of experience in non profit management, development, and community organizing to this role. She holds a B.A. in Spanish from Gordon College and an M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. As a mom to two young kids, she is passionate about making sure all young people have the opportunity to discover their passions and live them out.
Rachel Condry joined the Boston HERC team in June, 2021. Rachel graduated from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 2011 with a dual Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology. For over a decade, she has served in the non-profit sector, including direct service with underprivileged youth and managing programming servicing at-risk families. She is honored to serve in her role as the Boston HERC’s Director of Alumni Success, where she has an outlet to care for her staff, cast programmatic vision and, ultimately, impact young lives. In her free time, Rachel enjoys volunteering at her church, spending time outside, and singing way too loudly in the car.
Isabelle Min joined the Boston HERC team in the fall of 2021, starting as a Passport Coach at Fenway High School and Dearborn STEM Academy. To her directorial role, she brings experience in church and educational nonprofit administration and youth and young adult development. In her free time, she enjoys consuming either food or books, and she's always interested in a good story. She holds a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and Behavior from Mount Holyoke College.
Robert Barrett joined the Boston HERC team in 2017 and serves as the organization's Operations and Data Manager. An alum of Boston University, Robert left home in New Jersey to earn his Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education and became the first in his family to complete a college degree. During his time at BU, Robert studied abroad and student taught in London, England, was a student leader for Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, consumed hundreds of burritos in the Towers dining hall, and won a miraculous floor hockey intramural championship. A strong believer in the power of summer camps and experiential learning, Robert spent 13 summers working at camp, including multiple years as a Camp Director and Out-of School Time Administrator for the Dorchester YMCA. When not at HERC, Robert can be found leading mission teams to Haiti and Puerto Rico, cheering on the BU Terriers hockey team, or enjoying coffee and a good book at the closest Caffe Nero.
Program Coaches & Coordinators
Nigesca Maxime joined the Boston HERC team the summer of 2019, and is currently serving as a Passport Coach at New Mission High School. Nigesca is passionate about youth development and mental health. As a first generation college grad, she remembers the challenges of the college process and works to pay it forward. In her free time she enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix, listening to a good podcast, reading a book, or creating new crafts. She holds a BA in Psychology from Gordon College.
Lorena Marte joined Boston HERC team November 2020 and is currently serving as a Passport to College coach at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School and the Community Based after-school program. She graduated from UMass Boston in 2018 with a degree in Psychology and went on to serve in the nonprofit sector for two years through AmeriCorps. She served with the AmeriCorps Ambassadors of Mentoring and the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship. In her free time she enjoys playing video games with friends, serving in church, or streaming Netflix.
Erica Telisnor joined the Boston HERC in 2021 as a Passport to College coach. She is a first generation college student who graduated from Berklee College of Music. She loves music, food and nature. Aside from her work with Boston HERC, she is a professional musician who composes original music for theater and other projects. In addition to her work as a musician and educator, she also serves at her church, Family Life Fellowship as a Youth Leader and musician.
Ferlisa joined the Boston HERC in the summer of 2021 as an Alumni Success Coach. She graduated in 2016 from the Passport to College program. As a first-generation college student, she faced many difficulties but always had the support of her college coaches. As fruit of her efforts she graduated from UMass Boston with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Ferlisa loves to give her students the support that she once received and much more. As part of her role she dedicates her time to help college students to achieve their academic and careers goals. She is always up to spend some good time watching K-dramas and trying different types of food.
Michael Gonzalez graduated from Framingham State University with a BA in Criminal Justice with a minor in sociology. He is a Licensed Social Worker, and has 3 years of experience working with marginalized youth through different non-profit organizations. Outside of work, he enjoys playing sports and going on hikes in his free time. He also directs a leadership program within his church that builds and equips leaders to better serve in the community and in their ministry.
Yajaira Estrada joined the Boston HERC team in October of 2021 and serves as the Mentoring Coordinator for Alumni Success. She began her career in the nonprofit sector serving through AmeriCorps and Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership. Before joining the team, she worked in the Financial Services sector for over 10 years. Yajaira studies History at Boston University with a concentration on Religion. As an immigrant herself and first college generation student she remembers the obstacles of her youth and is passionate about helping the next generation of students achieve success. In her free time, Yajaira enjoys spending time with her family, reading, serving at her church, traveling, and the beach.
Lindsey Morales joined the Boston HERC team the summer of 2022, and is currently serving as a Passport Coach. With the lack of support in her undergrad, Lindsey faced challenges as a first generation college student. Due to her work experience in student development and community engagement, paired with her passion for social justice she has the desire to support other first generation youth to navigate the complexities of college. Lindsey has a BA in International Development from Gordon College. In her free time she likes to do crafts, go to the beach, and eat sushi.
Augustus Clemons joined the Boston HERC team in the fall of 2022 and serves as a Passport Coach. He was born and raised in the city of Boston. He brings a lot of experience to the team as he is a recent first generation college graduate, earning a bachelors of science degree in Criminal Justice from Bay State College. In addition to the role, he serves at Restoration City Church as a coordinator for the Outreach ministry at their Boston campus and Miracle Mile campus. He serves on the worship team as a sound engineer and is apart of the leadership team of the Young Adults ministry.
David Lopez-Flores joined the Boston HERC team in the Fall of 2022 as a Passport to College coach. He grew up in Waltham, Massachusetts and is a first-generation college graduate. As a first generation himself, he is aware of the struggles that first generations can face, mentally, emotionally, and financially. With this perspective, he is committed to seeing first generation youth succeed on their journey through life in the United States. David has a bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies and Pastoral Ministries from Northpoint Bible College and is currently working on his Masters of Divinity from Southeastern University. In his free time he likes going to the gym, read a book, and binge watching the Office as many times as possible.