PresenterPhotoMayra Garces (she/her/ella) is currently an Assistant Director in Student Enrichment Services at Northwestern University.

In this role, she runs a mentorship program dedicated to the success of first generation and/or lower income students (FGLI) through their first year at Northwestern and provides one-on-one support to undocumented/DACA students. 

Mayra is passionate about the social, emotional, and academic success of all students and in the last two years has been able to shift that focus to FGLI undergraduate students. As a FGLI and Latina graduate herself, this shift has allowed Mayra to pull from her own experiences in higher education; first as undergraduate student at DePauw University where she received a bachelor’s in Communications, and then as a graduate student at Miami University of Ohio where she received her master’s in Student Affairs in Higher Education.

Since graduating in 2015, Mayra has worked with Northwestern’s orientation program, which primarily focused on the leadership development of their orientation team and developing curriculum that prepared them to facilitate dialogue about a myriad of topics. These included:  diversity and inclusion, mental health, alcohol, and other drugs, and building healthy relationships. During this time, Mayra also developed affinity groups that orientation team members could opt into, which positively impacted the retention of FGLI and BIPOC staff. She hopes to continue cultivating welcoming and inclusive environments that center FGLI, BIPOC, and LGBTQIA students. During her free time, Mayra enjoys a long walk with her adopted Maltipoo named Mowgli and is learning how to bake. Currently she makes a mean batch of banana chocolate chip and walnut muffins.