Roxana Perez

February 2020

Roxana Perez, Honors College at Miami-Dade College Graduate 2018; University of Pennsylvania, Graduating Fall 2020

Major: International Relations with a Minor in History & Economic Policy

Career Goals: I have never been able to pick one career for the rest of my life knowing there are so many paths I could take, so many things I could do. Once I graduate from UPenn, I would like to continue expanding my experience within the think tank community, preferably as a researcher in a peace and conflict think tank such as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace or the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO). Then, I would like to continue my education through a Master’s or PhD program in Conflict and Resolution or Genocide Studies. Then, farther in the future, if the opportunity arises, I might like to work as an intelligence analyst in either the CIA or the FBI. Lastly, my ultimate goal is to become a professor -- one that after exploring all the world has to offer will be able to help and guide other students like me.

Biggest surprise about the college experience: As a non-traditional college student, who first began in the Honors College at Miami Dade College and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, the things that have surprised me might be different than what you would expect. My biggest surprise was realizing that there are so many opportunities available to me. I have no limits; I can go as high as I wish. Coming from an immigrant family and such as a small community, I did not fully realize how many doors would open to me once I went to college.

Most challenging coursework in college: Due to the nature of my career, a lot of my coursework consists of reading, writing, and participation. Every week I have around 200 pages of readings, on top of my other assignments and responsibilities, which can be hard if I do not manage my time properly.

Accomplishment most proud of: I have been fortunate to have been granted the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in 2017, which consists of a program under the U.S Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. This scholarship helped me fund my first international experience, a study abroad program to Spain. While at the Honors College, I have been awarded the 2018 English Composition Excellence Award for making meaningful contributions to the English Department. Additionally, I had the opportunity of being published in the award-winning creative arts magazine, AXIS, located at Miami-Dade College North Campus. Lastly, I had the honor of participating in the Global Citizenship Alliance Seminar, which took place in Salzburg, Austria. While at the University of Pennsylvania, one of my most precious accomplishments has been becoming part of the Think Tanks and Civil Society Program, in which I was able to help, develop, and coordinate a think tank summit in Colombia as well as to conduct research for the publication of a book in the field. At UPenn, I also had the opportunity of engaging in research, in which I developed my own investigation on mass violence for which I was granted the opportunity of presenting in the 2020 Midwest Political Science Association Conference as well as the 2020 International Relations Research Conference.

Can you provide any advice to our current Knights? College advice always seems to be the same, but they often hold true to them. TIME MANAGEMENT! A very important component of being a college student is having different responsibilities that you must learn to balance on top of your personal life. On that note, you will be exposed to different experiences that might be as scary as they are exciting. Be safe and don't be afraid of trying something new. Lastly, there are millions of opportunities out there waiting for you, do not allow yourself to take that opportunity away due to insecurity or maybes. TRY! The answer will always be “no” unless you try.

I paid for college with…: The two years that I spent in the Honors College at MDC were fully funded by the Honors Scholarship. Additionally, any other money from scholarships (such as Bright Futures or FAFSA), I saved for my next institution. Now, at UPenn who meets 100% need, my education is mainly covered by their Penn Grant. The rest comes from my savings or work-study.

Fondest memory from high school: There are so many small memories I cherish from Jose Marti, some from even before it became the MAST Academy we all know. Mrs. Luis and Mrs. Chan, who I knew since I was in 6th grade, always encouraging me to be the person they knew I could be. I remember helping paint the walls on the second floor with Mrs. Camacho, who used to teach me English and talk about our wish to visit Italy. Taking art class anytime I could along with my friends, where we made so many inside jokes and laughed far too much (at least that was what Mrs. Stern would say, but she loved us regardless). Bothering Milian over and over again with all of my college messes. Trying to finish my art project the same day we had our last Senior Event. Walking to receive my diploma with my small class of 44, proud as ever and excited for what was yet to come.

High School Graduation Date: June 1, 2016