Lawton Advocates

lawton-scholar-tylerMy name is Tyler Aguirre and I am a Junior at UWM. I just Started the nursing program and I am very excited to start. I picked nursing as a career because I love to help people and really enjoy the science side to it. I am in NEP, which is a nursing program at UWM that offers me resources to better my academic and future work career. Outside of school I like to watch movies and Youtube. I also enjoy working on cars and learning about them.

lawton-scholar-MatidaMy name is Matida Bojang and I am a research scientist in pharmaceuticals as well as a biochemistry and pre-medical student at UWM, I am very interested in global health, and because of this I decided to start an organization that provides a platform for Blacks and allies interested in creating global health equality through dialog, brainstorming, innovation and technology for people living in low-income countries. I have had mentos throughout my entire life, whether it was from an academic standpoint or not, and I would like to provide the same support that was provided to me by my mentors to other scholar

lawton-scholar-Shania My name is Shania Borek. I’m a junior majoring in Film at UWM. This is my first year as an Advocate and I look forward to mentoring students and helping them reach their goals. In my free time I like to dabble in different mediums of art such as painting, digital art, and sewing

lawton-scholar-Emily Hi! My name is Emily Elizabeth and sadly I do not have a big red dog named Clifford. But dogs are my favorite animals! I was born and raised in Chicago, Il. I moved to Milwaukee in August 2017 shortly after graduating high school. I really love exploring Milwaukee and trying new things. Next on my explore Milwaukee to-do list is to find the waterfall at Lake park! I am a senior who is majoring in Social Work! I am currently involved in undergraduate research, along with a few student orgs on campus. After graduation, I will be going straight into grad school where I will be pursuing my Masters in Social Work. I hope to one day be working alongside those within my community to push adolescents to pursue higher ed!

lawton-scholar-Darian An ambitious, full-time student at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Darian is studying mass media communications and JAMS. Darian is friendly and outgoing and lets those qualities guide her in every aspect of her life. After graduation, she has a desire for a career in Communications management and development. Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, she hopes to travel to bigger cities and leave her mark there. She wants to work as a brand strategist for a Fortune 500 company and hopes that her legacy inspires other young minority women like her.

lawton-scholar-KianaMy name is Kiana Gasch, but everyone calls me Key. I am a Senior at UWM, majoring in Communication. I am originally from Texas, but grew up in Brillion, Wisconsin, which is about 30 minutes south of the Fox Valley area. I enjoy watching Netflix, playing softball, and going to new restaurants! I have traveled outside of the country and have seen first-hand how important access to proper education is, I am looking forward to making connections with others about their current and future education needs. This is my first year as a Lawton Advocate, and I’m excited to be a part of the team!

Hello! My name is Kelsey Hood. This is my third semester with the Lawton Program, but my first semester as an advocate. I started my college education three years ago here at UW- Milwaukee. I am striving  to graduate in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology. I’m from Racine, Wisconsin which is about forty minutes south of Milwaukee. I have a few jobs to keep me busy while I’m not on campus. One of those jobs being a Rehabilitation Aide at Athletico Physical Therapy, because I hope to one day be a physical therapist myself. I am a big sports fan and I have faith that the Bucks will go all the way to the finals this year. trying new fitness activities is exciting for me. If I had to choose my two favorite activities, hot yoga and volleyball are probably my top choices. I am looking forward to working with everyone on the Lawton team, and being able to help my Lawton recipients as the semester begins.

Kirsten Leer (
Kirsten Leer is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, triple-majoring in Psychology, Classic Civilization, and Religious Studies. As a Senior Excellence in Research Awardee, McNair Scholar, and Honors College student, Leer has dedicated her undergraduate career to research. This fall she plans on applying for her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology.

Gabriela Leon (
My name is Gabriela Leon, but you can call be Gaby. I’m originally from Kenosha, WI and I’m a first-generation college student. I moved to West Allis to be close to UWM. I decided to pursue a degree in Social Work, in order to help my community and youth along the way. Some of my hobbies include listening to music and watching movies. Outside of school I enjoy spending time with family and friends, I’m excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the Lawton Scholars Success Advocate team this year!

Jewel Lo (
My name is Jewel Lo and I am a Junior majoring in Communication. This is my first year as a Lawton Scholar Advocate. I am the President of the Asian Student Union and Filipino Student Union. I absolutely love going on food adventures in and out of Milwaukee, as well as staying in and out of Milwaukee, as well as staying in and watching movies. Most would describe me as funny and talkative, and I hope I can share those qualities of myself within the Lawton Scholars Program.

Visone Ly (
My name is Visone which means “from wrong to right”, given to me by my parents. I am a fourth-year nursing student at UWM. I am the middle child of six kids, meaning I’m the unlucky one who has a lot on his plate. Fun fact about me is that we came to the United States in the year 2000. I am strong in my faith. Many people would describe me as mysterious and strange. If there is one thing I could change it would be my height. I am not a big fan of animals that can hurt you, but I do love farm animals, I was in the 2018 State Fair commercial and worked at St. Luke’s. Thanks for reading.

My name is Sarah Martinez and I am junior majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology. I have plans to eventually go to law school and eventually work my way up into being a judge. In my free time I like to hang out with my cat JJ (pictured above), workout at Orange Theory, read, and watch NBA or MLB. My current favorite show is “Bull”, but “The Office” is a lifetime favorite. I also love sports, my favorite teams to watch are the Brewers and the Bucks. I could talk about baseball all day every day. Anyway, this is my first semester as an advocate but my third semester in the program. I’m excited to be able to give back to the program that has already done so much for me.

My name is Taya Metzger and I am a junior majoring in Human Resources Management. I currently have an internship with A. O. Smith World Headquarters and also work for the Milwaukee Bucks (Hoop Troop). I enjoy working with others and helping out in the community. In my free time I am huge sports fan, love the outdoors, and spending time with my family and friends.  This is my first semester as an advocate and I am so excited to meet new faces and become a resource and help scholars through their academic journey.

Karina Montoto is a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is majoring in Psychology and plans to pursue her PhD after graduating with her bachelors in 2021. Being a first-generation college student, she has pushed herself to take advantage of the many opportunities that UWM has to offer as she volunteers at the ABCD Brain Lab, is a part of the McNair Scholars Program, and has now taken on the role of becoming a Lawton Advocate. Fun facts about Karina—she’s a huge foodie, is an animal lover, enjoys traveling, and finds the beauty in all genres of music!

Rubi Navarro (
My name is Rubi Navarro dam a senior majoring in Biology. My hope is to go onto the medical school one day. During my free time, I like hanging out with my friends and going out to eat, especially during the weekends I like spending time with my family members as well, As a first-generation student going to college was tough for me, I hope to help other students in their journey throughout college.

Briceida Perez (
My name is Bri and I’m going into my fourth and last year here at UW-Milwaukee. I’m majoring in Political Science with a Spanish minoring a Peace Studies Certificate. I hope yo go to Graduate School for International Studies next year. I love being involved and having on campus jobs. I was an orientation leader for two years and I currently serve as the president for Alpha Omicron Pi. I’m also  a first-generation student and can’t wait to guide other students as an advocate. In my free time, I enjoy reading new books and taking walks with my dog.

Eveelid Quirino (
My name is Eveelid Quirino and I am currently a Junior at UWM majoring in Nursing. I am a first-generation student and I am thankful for those around me who support me every step of the way. This is my first year as a Lawton Advocate and my second year as a Lawton Scholar. As a student here at UWM I am involved in an on-campus organization called Colleges Against Cancer who partners with the American Caner Society to raise awareness and fight against cancer. When I am not in class or at work I enjoy hanging out with friends, listening to music or simply exploring Milwaukee, I look forward to working with all the Lawton Advocates and Scholars!

Estela Rangel (
My name is Estela Rangel! I am for Los Angeles, California but was raised in Milwaukee. I am a Campus Ambassador where I work with prospective students and their families, by giving campus tours. I am also a member of the maternal and Child Healthcare Pipeline Training Program (MCH) here at UWM where I work with other UWM students to help 7th and 8th graders prepare for High School. I also work alongside Dr. Moerchen doing research where we get to work with babies and look at their motor development, I am a junior pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy with a minor in Psychology. I truly love working with kids/teens, but I am open to woking with all ages throughout the lifespan. I hope to work in the mental health field and advocate for others and be a voice that inspires.

Carly Rias (
My name is Carley Rias I am originally from Beaver Dam, WI. I am a junior at UWM this year and I am majoring in Elementary Education with a math minor. I also have a part time on campus job at the Children’s Learning Center as a Primary Caregiver which I love going to everyday. In my free time I enjoy doing yoga, reading, cooking/baking and exploring Milwaukee, specifically coffee shops! This is my first ear as an advocate for Lawton but my second year in the program. I am excited to see what they year has in store to take this time to learn and grow from the experience

My name is Nancy Martinez Ramirez and I am currently a junior at UWM. I am double majoring in political science: law related and economics. I love running and working out as well as meeting new people. My favorite color is blue and my favorite desert are brownies. I like to always be active and I enjoy learning new things everyday. I also speak Spanish and I am currently trying to learn French. Besides that, I have a 1 year old husky whose name is Luna and she is the sassiest dog I have ever met.

Felix Sanchez (
Felix Sanchez is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He intends to major in Biomedical Sciences: public Health Microbiology and minor in Chemistry as a pre-med student. Felix has been a part of the Apprenticeship in the Medience (AIM), Research Opportunity for Academic Development in Science (ROADS), Diversity Summer Health-Related Research education Program (DSHREP), and Student Enrichment Program for Underrepresented Professions (StEP-UP) at the Medical College of Wisconsin. After college, Felix wants to attend medical school. During his free time he likes to play video games and root for the Milwaukee Bucks. This’ll be his first year as a Lawton Scholar Advocate.

Jessica Solorzano
My name is Jessica Solorzano. I am going into my third and final year here at UWM. I am majoring in Psychology. Once I graduate in the Spring, I plan to start a counseling psychology graduate program in the Fall of 2020. I am particularly interested in working within Student Affairs at the Undergraduate level. I work in the Office if Undergraduate Admission here at UWM, I am a student coordinator for Group Tours. My interest in Student Affrairs started after I became a Campus Ambassador (Tour Guide) for UWM. I Am a very proud of who I am culturally and ethnically. I am the President of the Latinx Student Union (LSU). I feel like as asson as I got involved with my student organization that is when I grew out of my shell. It has been a great experience to get involved here on campus as I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people. I am looking forward to working with Lawton Scholars as I know the processes and what being apart of the program is like given, I was just there last year. I am always willing to help where I can.

Edgar Suarez-Benitez (
My name is Edgar Suarez-Benitez and I am a junior majoring in Marketing. I am a first-generation college student and I am from Waukesha, Wisconsin. I am currently on track to graduate in the Spring of 2021. This is my first year as a Lawton Advocate and I am looking forward to being a good resource for other students.

My name is Gabrielle Thao and I am originally from a small town in Wisconsin called Wausau. I am currently a senior studying Biomedical Science with a sub major of Biomedical Science and a minor in Health Care Administration. I am also a Pre-Anesthesiologist Assistant student which is has pretty similar requirements to Pre-med. There is a demand now and especially in the future for Anesthesiologist Assistants and I figured why not pursue it as I am also interested in it. After I graduate, I plan to apply to the MSA program at the Medical College of Wisconsin to pursue Anesthesiologist Assistant. Aside from that, some fun facts about me is that I enjoy playing volleyball and tennis to keep myself active. I also love traveling especially with friends and family and trying new things. This past summer, myself and 13 others enjoyed a missions trip to Paris, France. I am very family oriented and enjoy spending time with them when I can. I also love boba tea and get it at least once a week. Some shows I’ve been watching as of recently on Netflix include The Witcher, Crash Landing on You, Raising Dion, Vagabond, and Chocolate. Overall, I look forward learning more about my fellow advocates and how to become a better team member as well as leader for this upcoming semester as an advocate.

Rose Thao (
My name is Rose Thao and I am currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Health Care Administration with minors in business and health science. If I’m not studying in my favorite coffee shops, you can find me running, hiking, and boxing. I have a huge family including four sisters and two bothers long with lots of nieces and nephews! My dream job would be having a career that works directly to close the health disparity gap in minority groups in the Madison and Milwaukee areas. Fun fact about me: I run half-marathons

My name is Yer Thao. I graduated from South Division High School in 2017. I’m currently a full time, third-year student at UW-Milwaukee. I’m majoring in biochemistry with a biological science minor. I’m planning to go to medical school after graduating from UW-Milwaukee. My future career job is to be a doctor. A factor that influence my life is my family. Families have always been a big part in my life. They encourage and support in everything that I choose to do. I enjoy being with my siblings and experiencing things together. I also plan to visit South Korea with my siblings sometime in the future. Some things about myself that people around me usually notice are that I’m a very quiet and responsible person. My hobbies are watching drama and reading. I love watching Chinese, Korean and Thai drama. Whenever I have free time, I would read Chinese translated novel online.

Spencer Tyson (
My name is Spencer Tyson and I am currently a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I’m majoring in Advertising while pursing a minor in Film. I am originally from Stevens Point, Wisconsin but opportunity and diversity brought me to the city. I pride myself on being a hard-working individual while also being helpful to others. Helping people is important to me and I like to see other people succeed just as much as myself. I love sports and am a huge Milwaukee Bucks fan. I also happen to love food just as much, tacos being my favorite food. I love meeting and interacting with new people so if you ever see me around, don’t be afraid to say hi!

Xeng Vang
Xeng is an aspiring physician and plans to attend medical school. He is currently a junior majoring in Microbiology at UW-Milwaukee. Previously, he conducted research under Dr. Alan Mast at the Blood research Institute. Additionally, Xeng had made it to UWM’s 2016 Public Speaking Showcase and has presented his research with Dr. Alan Mast to the Medical College of Wisconsin. On his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, videogames and hanging out with friends. This will be his first semester as a Lawton Scholar Advocate.

My name is Amaya Varela, and this is my first semester serving as a Lawton Advocate. I am so excite to grow into this role because I am passionate about working with students at UWM. I am my fourth year at UWM and I am studying social work. I plan to work at the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services after I graduate in May 2020. I enjoy getting work done at local coffee shops during the school year and trying out new restaurants all over Milwaukee. I look forward to being apart of the Lawton program for another semester.


My name is Perla Vainstein and I am currently a Junior in my 2nd semester of the Nursing program here at UWM. I decided to become an advocate as I would like to give back to the programs at UWM that helped me grow and feel supported throughout my academic journey such as TRIO (student support services program) and Lawton. Being Hispanic-American and first-generation, I understand the struggles college can bring and I am glad to be able to help my scholars out. Outside of school I like to explore the city, test try new food places, and I’m always down to make new friends. I’ve always worked with people older than me through volunteer work such as at St. Luke’s hospital or kids/teens at Children’s hospital and through a program at UWM called Big Brother Big sister. This position will for sure be different for me than my most normal work but I am excited to be able to learn and work with the lawton team and my scholars!

Joel Villarreal-Tellez (
My name is Joel Villarreal-Tellez and I was born and raised in Racine, WI. I’m majoring in Mechanical Engineering and I have plans after graduation to return for my MBA. During my free time, I love to work on my car and watch movies. This will be my first year as a Lawton Scholar Advocate and I am excited to work with my scholars and fellow advocates.

Tamia Williams (
My name is Tamia Williams and I am a senior microbiology major at UWM. I am planning to apply to medical school during the 2020-2021 application cycle. I was born in Milwaukee, although I lived in Georgia from the ages of 7 to 15, when I returned to Milwaukee. This is my 3rd year as a dual scholar between Lawton and WiscAMP. I have made a lot of connections throughout my time at UWM and I would love to share these resources with other students in the program, so always feel free to ask questions. When I’m not heavily involved in helping others, I enjoy PC gaming and yoga.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, Jessica “J.Woo” Woolridge is an accomplished student, dancer, choreographer and managing director. Jessica is set to receive her Bachelor of Art in Dance, in May 2021 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. After college, she plans to continue her career as a teaching and performing artist, sharing her gifts and talents among her community. Today, Jessica is the Managing Director of Signature Dance Company, a non-profit organization where she teaches and mentors young girls. Jessica is passionate and a natural born leader known to woo everyone who crosses her path both on and off the stage.