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The certificate courses are designed and taught by a distinguished group of educational professionals, each considered a leading scholar and leader in their fields of expertise—listed here in alphabetical order:

Marines AponteMarinés Aponte is a professor of Business Administration at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She has a Ph.D. in business with a specialization in development, strategy and management from the Department of Business Economics of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a master's degree with a major in Finance from the University of Puerto Rico. Her areas of interest are social entrepreneurship, corporativism, microfinance, social investment and social impact metrics.

Ivis Garcia ZambranaIvis García Zambrana is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Metropolitan Planning (CMP) at the University of Utah. At CMP, she works closely with University Neighborhood Partners (UNP) and is also affiliated with the Metropolitan Research Center (MRC). She specializes in urban and community planning and the role of the non-profit sector.

Jennifer HinojosaJennifer Hinojosa is an associate researcher and data center coordinator at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies. She holds a master's degree in Geographic Sciences from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's degree in Geography from SUNY Binghamton University. Her research interests include GIS methods, socioeconomic disparities, migration and demographics.

Dr. Edwin MelendezEdwin Meléndez is a professor of Public Policy and Planning and director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. He teaches courses in Economics, Planning and Public Policy at the university level since 1980 and has more than 35 years of experience in managing sponsored research and research centers. He has worked as a consultant in employment, economic development, job creation and small businesses.

Federico del Monte is a planner and architect. He has more than three decades of experience working with the public sector in the areas of urban planning and housing. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Planning at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, and is currently the president of the Puerto Rican Planning Society.

Melina Olmo is an independent program management and business development services consultant with nearly two decades of experience in program development, federal and other grant management and compliance, and corporate governance, with experience in process improvement, strategic planning for non-profits, communications, and inclusive leadership style.

Dr. Rafael TorrechRafael Torrech, Ph.D., has forty years of professional experience in proposals, fundraising and institutional development. As an independent consultant, he provides a broad portfolio of services to major local non-profits; public and private universities; municipal, state, and federal public agencies; and philanthropic foundations.


Ariam Torres is a Centro researcher and a doctoral student in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, since 2017. His doctoral research work focuses on post-disaster planning processes in the United States and Puerto Rico. He specializes in federal funding and the non-profit sector participation in disaster recovery.