Grow Here: Luis Caloca Turning Ideas Into Action
Luis Caloca, Director of Enrollment Management and One Stop at College of Western Idaho, has paved his way by turning ideas into action. Starting out in Wilder within a predominantly Hispanic community, Luis’s life was transformed when his family moved to Canyon County and enrolled him in West Canyon Elementary – at the time, a school with very few Hispanic students.
This incredibly isolating experience bonded him with a new student at school, leaving the two to navigate high school with a best friend by their side. Experiences like that led him and two others to create the Future Hispanic Leaders of America in their senior year – an organization committed to helping Hispanic students advance in education by assisting with college admission, finding scholarships and grants and serving as a support group for those sharing similar experiences.
These pivotal experiences early on in Luis’s education broke ground for a career in higher education – specifically a career where he could work with students and the community to address the same adversity he felt as a student. After earning a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Boise State University, Luis briefly worked at the university before joining CWI’s founding team in 2008. Luis knew that CWI was a place where he could have influence. With students yet to fill the halls, Luis and the One Stop team set up the admissions office from the perspective of the students CWI planned to serve – students that were wanting to stay close to home, non-traditional students and veterans returning to the classroom and those seeking technical skills at an affordable price.
Luis is deeply involved in the community and continues to be an advocate for Hispanic students while away from his desk. Luis is still involved with the Idaho Latino Scholarship Foundation as a board member and now serves as the State Advisor for the Future Hispanic Leaders of America, the organization he co-founded in high school. He is also an advisory board member for University of Idaho President’s Latino Advisory Council and proudly represents CWI within the Hispanic Association of College and Universities and the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, amongst many other involvements.
Luis is looking forward to the day that College of Western Idaho is a fully built out community college. While the school has done a great job with limited resources, there is room for opportunity. He hopes to see the school mirror the growth Boise State has experienced, a public transportation system in place to easily connect students to a campus and to see the Boise Valley continue investing in the community, particularly as it relates to education. For Luis, the ticket is to actively reach out to individuals that come from a different background – especially first-generation college students, minorities, refugees and veterans – and give them a chance to contribute back. He is leading the charge with the CWI Hispanic Initiative and actively collaborates with others at the institution to reach out to all communities and better serve them. Luis encourages everyone to see the value in diversity and opportunity here and to invest in all the unique communities that make up the Boise Valley.
Luis will be speaking at the Boise Valley Economic Partnership's "Grow. Here." Economic Summit on May 31st. Click here to learn more.