Our Team

Gerardo Gamino

Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Gerardo Gamino

Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Aaron Pemberton

Founder, Chief Operating Officer

Aaron Pemberton

Founder, Chief Operating Officer

Marieli Rojas

Executive Coordinator

Marieli

Rojas

Executive Coordinator 

Easton Deshler

Chief Financial Officer

Easton

Deshler

Chief Financial Officer

Mirely Muro

 Volunteer

Mirely Muro

Volunteer

Nastacha Alvarado

  Editor/Translator

Nastacha Alvarado

Editor/Translator

Kainalu Grace

Marketing Assistant

Kainalu

Grace

Marketing Assistant 

Amy Sumsion

 Volunteer

Amy

Sumsion

Volunteer

Hannah Antillón

 Public Relations Director

Hannah Antillón

Public Relations Director

Gerardo Gamino

Brigham Young University

Physiology and Developmental Biology / Pre-Medicine

Mexican-American

I grew up in Los Angeles, California and am the son of Mexican immigrants who came to this country with a dream of a better life. As I have grown, that dream has kindled within me a desire to take full advantage of educational opportunities available to me. I am dedicated to becoming a distinguished professional in medicine and a leader who lifts those around him and helps them maximize their potential.

My journey to college was one I initially had to walk alone. When I first started looking into college readiness, no one in my family knew how to help me. I had to go out and find information on my own. As I did that, I was lucky enough to find a mentoring program that taught me how to approach the college application process. Together with my mentor I worked on becoming the best applicant possible despite being first generation and coming from a low income family. After all of my effort and the effort of my mentor, I was able to get into my dream universities, including: Brown University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, UC Berkeley, and Brigham Young University.

I regularly ask myself, “How am I going to be exceptional today?” This mentality drives me to be a disciplined college student, to seek out the best opportunities, to surround myself with the best people, and to serve in the most effective ways. All that I do in college is in accordance with that vision of excellence. That is what drives me to do more. That is what drove me to form Puente.

Aaron Pemberton

Brigham Young University 

I am from Arizona. My father joined the military when I was 13 and I’ve moved around since then. I’ve experienced several unique cultures from Georgia to Oklahoma to Germany and Spain. Being exposed to this diversity has helped shape me into the person I am today. I am a person that loves uplifting and bringing people together. Though we all come from different backgrounds we all are good people at heart.

As I went through high school, I always strove to do my best. I was soccer captain and broke several school records.With a lot of hard work and dedication I was able to receive scholarships to both BYU and the University of Arizona. I found difficulty getting into college while filling out the application for BYU and the University of Arizona. My parents helped me through these processes and I know it would have been extremely difficult without them.

I feel that I have a lot to offer with a unique background from being a military kid with an interesting childhood. My parents raised me lovingly but with their differences they decided to part ways. There have been many ups and downs but the overarching theme is that I am the architect of my own life. I decide what will happen in my life. I can take control and change my life, help those around me and inspire and uplift. I hope that this message can be portrayed to all who have an encounter with Puente.

Hannah Antillón

Brigham Young University

Public Relations, Business Management

Salvadoran-American

I’m Hannah! I’m from Albany, New York. Growing up my dad would tell us about his difficult journey coming from El Salvador to the U.S. and getting into college. Because of his own experiences, he was already familiar with the resources I needed to prepare me for college. I am a part of Puente to help others just as he has helped me.

Being diverse is one part of my identity that I embrace the most. Throughout my college experience, I have participated in the BYU Multicultural Student Service events. This past year, I was in the Tonga and New Zealand section for Lu’au. I regularly attend salsa club on Tuesdays. I have also earned a Spanish certificate for speaking and writing. I love my heritage!

Easton Deshler

Brigham Young University

Finance

I’m Easton. I’m from Kentucky. I am a freshman studying pre-business at BYU. I grew up in an LDS home with 2 brothers and 1 sister. I had the best childhood one could hope for. I had what I needed, I was happy, I was taught to do well in school and was successful.

My parents taught me from a young age to prepare for college. I took the ACT 4 times, the first time being in my freshman year. I always took AP and dual credit classes. I did many extra curricular activities and clubs to be a well balanced applicant. My senior year I applied to many schools, however I already knew where I would end up going to school. I got into BYU and have been here ever since.

Amy Sumsion

LDS Business College

Pre-Law

I’m Amy. I grew up in a little town outside of Portland, Oregon. My parents are both teachers, so I learned from an early age the importance of education.

Deciding where to go college was a big process for me. I had my dream that I was positive I’d be accepted to. When that didn’t happen it caused a major shift in my plans I had to be flexible and decide where to go. In the end, the school I’m at now is opening up a lot of opportunities that I would not have had had I gone to my dream school.

Something unique about my college experience was how much I’ve had to navigate pressure from other people. I’ve had to really sort through what my priorities are compared to those in my life.

Nastacha Alvarado

Brigham Young University

Spanish Translation

Puerto Rican

I was born in Puerto Rico and my family moved to Arizona when I was five years old. I grew up in a low-income district with limited resources and prospects. Five years after graduating from high school, I became a BYU student and I feel that the world is at my feet and I can do anything!

Having attended school in a low-income district, there were many factors working against my success. My parents were unfamiliar with the application process in the United States and were not able to offer me as much help as I would have liked. I was unsure about what colleges to apply to and what I would do upon acceptance. I chose to attend Northern Arizona University and learned a lot about what I wanted to do in life and how to face obstacles. After two semesters, I took a year off school to figure out my future and decided to serve a mission. Shortly after, I transferred to BYU, which has been one of the biggest blessings in my life.

My first year at Northern Arizona University was the hardest year of my entire life so far. I had a scholarship for my tuition, but I had to pay for everything else. My year at NAU put life into a new perspective. I was miserable there and I took time off school to figure out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After many months, I chose a course in life that I felt would be the best for me and I am now working towards achieving my goals.

Kainalu Grace

Brigham Young University

Civil Engineering

I was raised in Hawaii, with my roots buried deep in the culture. I grew up going to the beach, taking pictures/videos, playing sports, and dancing hula. I am the oldest of 5 children and I served a full-time mission in Maputo, Mozambique speaking Portuguese.

My goal and dream school was to make it into BYU. My parents taught me the importance of a good education by making sacrifices physically and financially, so that my siblings and I could gain a better education at a younger age. I was challenged and pushed to my limits, but I always made sure to balance my life and becoming a well rounded student. The road to college was not easy, and now that I am here it is even harder. But it is all worth it as I continue to overcome each challenge and make the most out of every opportunity.

I have the mindset that you “create your own luck.” If you want something, you need to go and get it. I love this school and I want to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I use my interests such as photography, videography, and culture to become more involved in school or the community and I love serving/helping other people.

Miguel Lira

Brigham Young University

International Relations/Consulting and Strategy

Venezuelan

I was born in Venezuela. My family moved here when I was 7 years old. My family lives in Texas. I’ve had the opportunity to grow through education here in the United States. I unexpectedly ended up here at BYU, yet I’m very grateful.

My journey to get to where I am now wasn’t very conventional and was a learning process of itself. My parents didn’t know anything about the college process in the US. However, they taught me about how to succeed. I learned a lot about responsibility, hard work and commitment as I went through the process. Being an immigrant and DACA recipient makes my journey have as many challenges as it does opportunity. It’s not easy competing with people that know the process already and being an outsider makes it seems like there are many barriers to succeed, but through receiving guidance, worthy examples and diligent effort it was all possible.

There are some key things I’ve learned such as the importance of surrounding yourself with people who uplift you and also having no fear in asking for help. I think my certain challenges, especially in things like finding funding my education while not being a citizen, have only taught me to never give up on a dream. I’ve learned when I’ve felt underprivileged, I simply needed take the opportunities I’m given and make the best of the situation. In the great scheme of things, everything will work out, we just have to give it our all.

Mirely Muro

Brigham Young University 

Psychology, Social work

Peruvian

I was born in Peru and brought to the US at the age of 5 with my grandparents’ help. My dad was never a part of my life growing up, therefore leaving my mom to raise me on her own. I come from a family of dreamers and hard workers who never give up.

·Education has always been a big part of my family. My mom has always encouraged me to achieve a higher education – an opportunity she never had in Peru. My mom has been my biggest motivation and strength throughout my education. I am a first-generation student, which left me to figure my own way when it came time to apply for college. I know my mom wanted to help me, but she just didn’t know how. I remember having to put extra hours of work than it seemed like my peers had to. I had to attend summer camps, find tutors, come in early or stay after school to get help, and find people in the community to help me achieve my dreams. Despite all of this extra effort I’ve also faced a lot of rejection, judgement, and discrimination throughout high school and college. While I considered being Latina an obstacle, my background slowly became one of my biggest strengths. I had to acknowledge and accept myself for who I am, I had to accept where I come from, who I represent, and embrace being Latina. Knowing my culture helped me voice my opinion, made me different, and gave me a different perspective on life.

Marieli Rojas

Brigham Young University

Guatemalan-American

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and grew up in the New England area. As a daughter of Guatemalan immigrant parents, I have loved growing up with the Latino culture. I find great joy in serving the Latino community.

There were many obstacles that I had to overcome as a first generation college student. There were many resources I was unaware of due to lack of knowledge and experience from me and my parents. The guidance I received during the college application process was minimal. However, the little help I did receive from teachers was a crucial part of this process.

Choosing my major has been a big process for me. I started off college not knowing what I wanted to do. There were a lot of things that I had to do in order to learn what fits best for me and what I should do.

Jaysen Valdes

Brigham Young University

Strategic Management

Dominican & Chilean

I was born and raised in Australia. However I was raised in a Latino home and I am full blooded latino. I moved over to the states to study at Brigham Young University.

As an international student I faced multiple difficulties, such as assimilating into a new country and culture, familiarising myself with a foreign education system and accepting the fact that I will be away from friends and family for an extended period of time. I personally feel that my college experience has been filled with an immense amount of opportunities that I couldn’t find back home. I do not have any regrets from changing my life to pursue a college experience in America.

I love solving problems and I get excited when I encounter a challenge. I look forward to any opportunities in which I can apply strategic thinking to a situation.

I am a current member of a dance company, BYU Living Legends. As a company we tour domestically and internationally showcasing indigenous dances from Polynesian, Native American and Latin American cultures. I’ve traveled to Germany & Switzerland and look forward to traveling to Brazil.

My role as the Strategic Impact advisor is overseeing our nonprofits strategic initiatives. I also wrote our business plan for our organization. I make sure that our operations are sound and our growth and expansion strategies are air tight.d

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