Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Recent Alumnus Aspires to Teach and Mentor Underrepresented Students

Alejandro Contreras is the School of Public Affairs 2020 Outstanding Master of Public Administration (MPA) graduate.

Recent Alumnus Aspires to Teach and Mentor Underrepresented Students

by Nora Leyva

July 22, 2020

Alejandro Contreras’s goals after graduation are to become a professor and mentor to traditionally underrepresented students in institutions of higher education. As a professor, he hopes to foster students’ development by incorporating different approaches to education that emphasize preparing students to meet the needs of the community. Moreover, he hopes to mentor students to showcase their research findings and demonstrate the real world implications of research on increasing the well-being of communities.

His experience in the MPA program contributed to these goals by allowing him to recognize the impact of having faculty mentors that support traditionally underrepresented students; underscoring the need to create more opportunities for students to succeed in the future; and emphasizing the need for students to interact with communities by listening to their needs, understanding how they can help, and implementing solutions that create a better environment going forward.

During his time in the MPA program, Contreras participated in various research projects. Additionally, he received the Ken Perry Endowed Scholarship and the Henry L. Janssen Honors Council Scholarship.

Contreras’ hopes for the Class of 2020 is for them to prioritize rectifying social and political issues above all else and to understand their role in creating more equitable communities. Ultimately, he is hopeful that this graduating class will rise to the moment of rectifying injustices by listening to communities, understanding their needs, and working to create safe, inclusive, and equitable environments.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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