Growing up in low-income homes as children of immigrant parents, we experienced first-hand the challenges that students are faced with when it comes to advancing in an academic environment. These challenges include not having access to enriching summer programming and the emotional toll from lost opportunities that come with not having access to the best strategies needed to navigate the complex transition from high school to postsecondary education.
Growing up in Spanish-speaking homes, while also fostering resilience, further complicated the process of navigating a new, academic landscape. We understand the struggle not merely because we have read the research and worked in the public school classroom, but because we experienced this ourselves. We know what at-risk students need because we know what we needed as grade school students. Additionally, as we advanced in our postsecondary academic settings, we realized, in retrospect, all the gaps left behind in our path towards our postsecondary goals.
At Cueponi Educational, we intend to provide services to bridge these gaps for students currently in the position we were once in.
Nayelly Barrios and Sergio Cuevas are a husband and wife team who strive to bring equity to education.
They are Co-Owners of Cueponi Educational, LLC.
As a hypercreative with ADHD, Nayelly wears many hats but her favorite is that of educator. She is also a poet, activist, financial coach, and business owner. She is a Rio Grande borderlands native. She earned an MFA in Poetry and an MA in English from McNeese State University. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Puerto del Sol, Notre Dame Review, and others. She is a co-founder of Angry Tias and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley, an organization that advocates for immigrant rights and has received the 2019 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.
Nayelly is currently a lecturer at the University of Texas- Rio Grande Valley where she teaches Composition and Rhetoric and Creative Writing. She has also taught Children's and Adolescent Literature at UTRGV. She is currently a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Mexican American Studies. Her primary role as CMAS Faculty Fellow is Editor of the Rio Bravo journal, but she has also assisted with other community and program initiatives.
Nayelly has one decade of teaching experience at the high school and university level. She has taught at McAllen High School, Mission Collegiate High School, McNeese State University, and The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley. She holds a Texas Educator Certificate in English Language Arts and Reading 8-12 and ESL Supplemental 8-12.
Nayelly Barrios, MA, MFA
Sergio Cuevas, Ph.D.
As an individual with congenital, bilateral hearing loss, Dr. Cuevas has first-hand experience with the challenges of growing up with a disability. He understands the importance of early access to disability awareness while navigating the educational and employment fields.
Dr. Cuevas earned a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2009 and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2012 from The University of Texas-Pan American, and most recently, a Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2018 from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
He has published research about topics such as hearing loss, Parkinson’s Disease, Spinal Cord Injury, life care planning, and caregiving and stress in Journal of Rehabilitation, Journal of Life Care Planning, Rehabilitation Research, Policy, and Education, and Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. He has co-authored a book chapter about family, culture, and disability in the book titled, The Psychological and Social Impact of Illness and Disability. He has presented on disability-related topics in several national conferences such as The National Council on Rehabilitation Education and National Association of Multicultural Rehabilitation Concerns. He is a proud advocate for individuals with disabilities in the community.
Dr. Cuevas has high school teaching experience in English Language Arts and Read 180, which is a program designed to assist at-risk students improve their literacy skills. His current work experience involves assisting students and adults with disabilities in obtaining, maintaining, or advancing in competitive employment, as well as coordinator experience, with the State of Texas.