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FLAMES Team

Department People
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Carter Alvarado

My name is Carter Alvarado.  I was born in Riverside, CA but primarily raised in Elko, NV.  I am pursuing my Associates of Arts degree in Criminal Justice.  My plan is to graduate from TMCC, then transfer to UNR to obtain my Bachelors in Criminal Justice.  My ultimate goal is to graduate from both UNR and the police academy to become a police officer.  I joined the FLAME$ department after my second semester here at TMCC.  I was primarily interested in learning more about how to better manage my money, and gain some knowledge on how I could potentially make more money.  But since joining the FLAME$, I have learned far more than I ever thought I would.  I enjoy helping students better understand all types of financial literacy topics including budgeting, savings, loans, scholarships and investing.

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Giovany Ayala

Hello, my name is Giovany, I was born and raised in Reno. I'm currently in the process of earning an Associate of Fine Arts degree at Truckee Meadows Community College.  After I get my AA I plan to transfer to UNR and earn a Bachelors in Music Education.  I’ve enjoyed listening and creating music my entire life, and I have finally decided to pursue a career in the music industry.  I am interested in both creating and sharing all genres of music.  I am currently a student employee for the FLAME$ department at TMCC.  I enjoy helping other students with their financial responsibilities and goals.  I am always looking forward to learning more about all financial literacy topics so I can guide others to the best of my abilities.

Nicole Barnes

Nicole Barnes

Although I was born in Washington, I consider myself a Californian. I lived in the small town of Paradise for about 17 years. With 120+ college credits and an Associate of Science Degree under my belt, I have finally chosen to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management. Working in the Financial Aid Office for nearly 3 years made my transition into the FLAMES seamless. I enjoy student interaction and helping people garner all of the resources available to them. Education is your best resource! Knowing how to balance your finances reduces stress and frees up your brain to focus more on academic success. I personally love talking to students about credit. Many students have trouble building credit or feel that they cannot do so on a limited budget. I am here to show you that it is possible to build great credit, and it will pay off in your future. I look forward to seeing you at our workshops, presentations and maybe even a one-on-one learning session.

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Darrell Carden

Hello, my name is Darrell Carden.  I was born and raised in Winnemucca, NV.  I grew up loving art and anything else where I can be creative.  I moved to Reno is 2018 and began attending TMCC.  I first started in the fine arts department and earned my associates.  After graduating with a fine arts degree, I came back to TMCC to work towards my Associate of Arts in Graphic Design.  After getting my AA, I will be working towards my Bachelors in Visual Media.  After graduation, I would love to work as a freelance designer on as many projects as I can.  I started with FLAME$ in 2020 as a designer for the department. Before working here, I never realized how helpful Financial Aid and FLAME$ could be for college students.  Students can learn things like budgeting, home-buying, and how to save money.  FLAME$ is a great resource and I am happy to be part of the team!

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Jennifer Curdie

I have lived in the Reno area since 1991 and graduated from Fernley High School in 1999. My husband is attending UNR and my two children are growing up so I decided this was the perfect opportunity to go back to school. At first, I did not know what degree I wanted to pursue but now I have chosen journalism. I plan to graduate at TMCC with an Associate of Arts transfer degree, and then continue with my education at UNR. After taking a loan counseling workshop with the FLAMES I became interested in the program and decided to join the student workforce. I enjoy helping others and joining the FLAMES team was the perfect opportunity to do that. I am excited to be able to share what I have learned with other students so they can become more financially literate and can focus on their studies.

Mariela Ocampo Photo

Mariela Ocampo

Hi, my name is Mariela and I am from Reno, Nevada. I completed the Dental Assistant Certificate Program at TMCC in 2015, and after working in the dental field for about three years I decided to pursue a career as an orthodontist. I am now attending TMCC again pursuing an associate of science degree and then will transfer to UNR. Financial education is very important, whether it is budgeting, credit scores or financial aid. They all play an important role in our college careers. My goal working with FLAMES is to provide assistance and guidance for students to help them focus more on their education rather than financial issues. FLAMES is a very useful resource for students because we help students find ways to pay for college such as FAFSA, scholarships and work-study. Having knowledge about how to pay for college takes some of the burden off students so they can focus on their studies.

  Karla Ramirez Ayala

Karla Ramirez Ayala

I was born in Reno and have lived here for my whole life. I attended UNR straight out of high school but did not know what I really wanted to do with my life. I completed my phlebotomy certificate at TMCC and worked in the medical field for about two years until I was ready to take my college career seriously and knew the path I wanted to pursue. I have been dancing for as long as I can remember and wanted to take my art to the next level by making it a career. I plan to graduate with my associate in art at TMCC with an emphasis on dance and one day own a dance studio and teach the Latin styles in dance. I believe understanding all the ins-and-outs of finances is beneficial for a college student. I enjoy helping students make the right decisions towards their career path and making sure the student does not make any financial mistakes that will affect them in the long run.

  Thierry Shema

Thierry Shema

Hi, my name is Thierry. I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, raised in Kenya, and later moved to America. I am a student at TMCC, majoring in Computer Science. I joined the Flame$ department because the idea of learning and teaching about finances sounds really interesting and useful. My goal here is to learn as much as I can in this department and also help other students who don't know about scholarships, loans, budgeting, saving, and financial aid.

  Estefani Tobar

Estefani Tobar

Hi, my Name is Estefani Tobar. I was born and raised in Reno, NV, and will forever love this crazy city. I love all the year-round events that go on in this town, and all the art we've been making and receiving, that it makes it hard even to be bored. After working hard to graduate with my Honors diploma, I am now pursuing my Associate of Science degree to be able to pursue my dream career of becoming a dentist. The reason I am glad to be working with FLAME$ is that I'm able to learn more about loans and money handling skills, while also getting a great opportunity to see real-world experiences that people have gone through. I am also learning healthy habits to prepare me for any situations I may encounter in the future.

Daniella Trujillo Rosas

Daniella Trujillo Rosas

I am from Reno, Nevada and I am pursuing my Associate of Science degree here at TMCC. As college students, many of us struggle with finances, which can be very stressful. My goal is to teach students what resources are available to them so they can see that going to college is possible and affordable. The FLAMES program is important to me because we are able to teach students what financial aid resources are available to help them pay for their college career. My favorite financial literacy topic is budgeting. Many of us do not realize where our money goes. By creating a budget, you can see what you are spending your money on, and if need be make changes, which can have a big impact in the end. Teaching people how to create and maintain a budget is something that I believe is very important. The FLAMES program is a good place to go to learn not only about budgeting, but also about many other financial literacy topics.