Meet Our Team
Jade Silva Tovar, M. Ed.
Assistant Vice President & Interim Director
Ariana Hernandez, M. Ed.
Ariana Hernandez is the Assistant Director for the College Connect. She has her Bachelor of Arts in English from Texas Tech University and her M.Ed. in Student Development and Leadership in Higher Education from Angelo State University. Her duties include writing, editing, and managing proposals and grants that service underserved K-12 students. Awards include the CH Foundation, Halliburton, 2M Foundation, JF Maddox, and Texas Workforce Commission. She previously served as Interim Director for College Connect and led virtual experiences and opportunities that provided higher education access to the community. In her time away from the office, she enjoys training, reading, rewatching Harry Potter, and spending time with friends and family.
Mary Harris, M.A.
Mary Harris joined the College Connect team as a Program Manager in February of 2020. She is from Lubbock, Texas, and obtained her bachelor's degree and M.A. in Strategic Communication and Innovation both from Texas Tech University. She also holds a graduate certificate in Advanced Digital and Social Media. In her role, she is responsible for developing and coordinating academic programs and camps for students K-12 and facilitating partnerships. In addition to her position with College Connect, Mary helps to improve the retention of TTU students by teaching courses for PADR. In her free time, she likes to watch movies, travel, and spend time with her dogs and family.
Clarissa Gonzales, M. Ed.
Clarissa Gonzales joined the College Connect team as a Program Coordinator in March of 2022. She is from El Paso, Texas, and obtained her bachelor's degree at Texas Tech University and M.Ed in Student Development & Leadership in Higher Education from San Angelo University. She also holds a graduate certificate in Academic Advising. In her role she is responsible for performing administrative duties related to planning, directing, and coordinating both academic and operational activities of the program. In her free time, she likes to play Pokemon, read, travel, and spend time with her dogs and fiance'.
Lexi LeCroy joined the College Connect team in March of 2020. She is from Paducah, Texas, and is currently pursuing a dual major in Psychology and University Studies with a minor in Integrative Studies. She is a member of Psi Chi, which is the National Honor Society in Psychology, as well as Women in Business. Lexi plans to attend graduate school and attain a Doctorate of Psychology so that she can follow her dream of becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist. Lexi's role in College Connect is helping with campus tours, summer camps, promotional items, and maintaining daily office duties. Her personal hobbies include traveling, reading, and spending time with her friends.
Matt Ministrelli joined the College Connect team in August 2021, after originally participating as a Camp Counselor in the summer of 2021. He is from Tyler, Texas, and is currently a junior at TTU working towards a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. His goal is to earn a Doctorate in Psychology to counsel children and adolescents struggling with depression and anxiety. In his current role for College Connect, his duties include hosting campus tours, providing support to other departments within the DDEI, and managing office tasks. In his free time, Matt enjoys swimming, playing guitar, and spending time with his friends.
Madison Adams joined the College Connect team in September of 2021. She is from Fort Worth, Texas, and is currently pursuing a major in Digital Media and Professional Communications with a minor in Advertising. She is a member of FAME, Fashion and Media Entertainment, and AWC, Association for Women in Communications. She hopes to pursue a career in Digital Media Marketing and Advertising after college, and in her free time, she loves to go to concerts, hang out with friends, and binge-watch movies and TV shows.
Cassandra Perales joined the College Connect team in September 2021. She is a first-generation Hispanic woman from Houston, Texas. She is currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering. She then wants to attend graduate school and obtain her Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering. Cassandra's role in College Connect consists of her aiding with campus visits and completing clerical duties. With this role, she hopes to inspire younger generations to pursue higher education. Some of her personal hobbies include watching movies, traveling, and spending time with her friends.
Samantha La Raia
Samantha La Raia joined the College Connect team in February 2022. She is a first-generation college student from Boerne, Texas. Sam transferred to Texas Tech in Fall 2021 from Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas. She is a member of the Transfer Techsans. She is currently pursuing a major in History with a minor in Secondary Education. Her goal is to teach middle school history. In her free time, she loves to hang out with her friends, spend time with her dog, and rewatching her favorite tv shows