Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Jessica Perea

Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2016 Scholar Jessica Perea

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2016
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
College/Degree: University of Colorado Boulder, Ethnic Studies

What are you currently interested in pursuing after graduating?
Currently, I am interested in pursuing a “mob” position with Dutch Bros. Coffee. This position would allow me to travel all over the U.S. to up-and-coming shops to train new hires and spread “Dutch” Culture. I’d like to spend more time with Dutch Bros. before beginning my teaching career as a high school English or social studies teacher. In the future, I see myself working as a teacher for a while before later becoming an administrator, then a principal, a superintendent, and maybe the Secretary of Education while I’m at it.

Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.
I joined UMAS y MEXA (United Mexican American Students y Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) at CU Boulder because attending a predominantly white institution as a first-generation, Latinx student comes with many challenges and a need for extra support for yourself, especially through a community you can identify with. Additionally, activism on this campus is necessary for more minority representation at CU within the student body and faculty.

I have an incredible job at Dutch Bros. Coffee. DB allows me to spread positivity, build relationships with new people every day, constantly improve myself, practice selflessness and genuine care for others, travel, laugh, and always love.

Tell us about an important mentor you have had.
My parents have always been my two biggest mentors in my life. My dad is the strongest person and hardest worker I know. He never lets any obstacle stop him from doing whatever he can to provide for his family. He’s taught me that “Pereas never quit” and this motto has shaped my work ethic. In addition to strength, what I’ve learned from my mom is compassion. She takes everyone in as her own and practices genuine love for others on a daily basis. Regardless of who you are, she’s always willing to lend a helping hand. She’s taught me vulnerability.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“If there’s a will, there’s a way.” This has been something I have consistently heard from my family throughout my life. It’s so simple, but so life-changing when you put it into practice. Just acknowledging that if there is a true will and desire to do or accomplish something, there is a way. No matter what, there is always a way. This piece of advice was something I held onto when it came time to apply for colleges knowing I was coming from a low-income family in which no one had attended university before.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
I would love to have a dinner with Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Dennis Banks (the leader and founder of the American Indian Movement). These three led civil rights movements for their communities and their conversations about the injustice woven into American institutions would be invaluable. Activism and social justice is something I am very passionate about and learning more about how to disrupt systems of oppression is something more necessary now than ever.

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