Campus Conexiones – a speaker series at San Diego Mesa College that aims to build
connections between students and the LatinX faculty/staff on campus – returned to
campus this month with guest speaker María José Zeledón Pérez on March 23.
This monthly event, which was more of a conversation than a speech, was created to
highlight the LatinX staff and faculty on campus at Mesa and show students the journey
that the speakers took in life. Zeledón Pérez said that she hopes her conversation
was able to motivate and inspire students by sharing her own experiences as a bilingual,
international student with the attendees.
“Campus Conexiones is a form of support,” Zeledón Pérez said. “It was a little bit
on the human level of really who I am, where I’m coming from, how did I get where
I am and how does my cultural identity play a role in what I do today? The fact is,
I am a very proud Latina with a heavy accent, so that’s part of what I wanted to talk
to the students about – to be proud, and for students to use their language as an
asset, because being bilingual is an asset, not a deficit.”
Zeledón Pérez is part-time faculty in the Communication Studies Department at Mesa
College and currently studying as a second year doctoral student at San Diego State
University in the education program with a concentration in community college leadership.
Her research focuses on educational attainment for underrepresented students of color
in STEM disciplines who are attending two-year, Hispanic Serving Institutions. She
added that her research is “looking at whether the frequency of the interactions between
underrepresented students and their faculty impacts their outcomes.”
Born and raised in Costa Rica, Zeledón Pérez received her Bachelor’s degree there
in business administration with a minor in marketing before moving to the United States
to attend SDSU for graduate school, where she received a Master of Arts in Communication.
Zeledón Pérez is also a consultant for the Committee for Diversity, Action, Inclusion
and Equity at Mesa College. Her dedication to fostering diversity extends to passionately
advocating for equity and inclusion in higher education.
She said that her favorite part of being an educator is, “being able to connect with
students in order to help them achieve their academic and personal goals.” She added
that, “embracing diversity in her classroom is the key to student success.”
Being a mother of two children (10-year-old Sofia and 8-year-old Marco), a wife and
the owner of two dogs, Zeledón Pérez balances teaching, learning and family life with
“It takes some adapting and flexibility – my husband is such a source of support,
so we are a team in my household,” she said. “There are no ‘roles’ in our family –
we just do what we have to do to support each other in whichever endeavor we are working
on in the moment.”
The Campus Conexiones Speaker Series is supported by Proyecto Éxito and STEM Conexiones.
For more information about this series, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 388-2781.
Tags: Proyecto Exito, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Campus Conexiones