John Mejia, University of Vermont, Staff at the Office of Student & Community Relations
ACPA Award You Received:
Voice of Inclusion Award
What and/or who inspired you to pursue higher education as a profession, and how did you get into your current functional area?
Like a lot of folks, I was inspired to pursue higher education as a profession because as a queer person of color from a working poor background with undocumented parents, it was culturally competent and engaged higher education professionals that made it possible for me to succeed in college. I just want to pay it forward.
How did you get involved with ACPA, and what keeps you involved?
I have participated in some way with all of the largest higher education associations but I fell in love with ACPA from the first conference I attended. It is an organization that lives its espoused values everyday. It is such a welcoming and generous organization with incredibly thoughtful and committed leadership.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?
The most important thing at the end of the day is maintaining strong, authentic relationships and those require one to make all decisions (regardless of how large or small) that are in line with your values, demonstrates impeachable integrity and the willingness to be vulnerable, empathetic and honest.
Outside of higher education, what makes you tick?
Raising my fur babies (Juniper the Pug and Justify the Mastiff Mix), reading voraciously, writing (and on occasion, publishing), visual arts, caring for plants, learning new languages, learning to use public transportation systems in different countries, coffee, running marathons, being in nature, fundraising for good causes, being certified to do things, and spending time with the people I love.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with NECPA members?
I am thrilled to be in community with you and share the responsibility of making the future a better place for everyone. If you think I could ever be helpful in some way don’t hesitate to reach out and I will do my best to help!