Alvarado grew up in Moses Lake, Washington. She received her bachelor's degrees in English and Spanish from Washington State University. She received her master's degree in education from the University of Florida. She was the first director of Purdue's Latino Cultural Center. She started the first annual retreat for the Latino Leadership conference. She was involved with Humanigration, which is a program that partnered with a non-profit organization called Border Links to educate and learn about the process of immigration.