NECPA Graduate Spotlight July – Denis Garcia Reyes

Smiling man outdoors.

Name:  Denis Garcia Reyes

School: The University of Vermont

Program:  Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration

Type: Master’s

Current employer:  Assistant Residence Director in Residential Life at the University of Vermont

What do you love about working there?

Working as an Assistant Residence Director, I have really found enjoyment in my various interactions in the residential community. I have been given an amazing opportunity work in a community where students are willing to share pieces of their cultural identity and backgrounds, whether that be through their identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, or cultural values such as books, films, food, and music. Looking at my grad school search journey, this was something that I wanted in my experience and I am so grateful to be able to experience it in the capacity that I do.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I am a huge foodie so trying new foods is something I love to do. Watching TV is a big source of stress relief for me as well as participating in Zumba classes, and running!

What is your favorite grad school course/experience and why?

My favorite grad school course has been my practicums thus far. I have been able to dip my toes in several areas of interest while at UVM and am thankful to have been able to have these experiences to narrow down where my interest lies before the job search starts in the next few months.

Who/what inspired you to get involved in higher education?

At my undergraduate institution, I met a lot of folx who I call my mentors now that inspired my interest and passion in the field of higher education. My participation in the NASPA Undergraduate Fellowship Program (NUFP) allowed me to see the various ways folx enter this field and my NUFP mentor truly embodied the work that I want to do one day so that is why I am here today.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career (so far)?

The most valuable lesson I have learned is some advice I got early on in my grad school career, one of my colleagues reminded me that “success is a journey, not a destination” as I scrambled to try and find balance in my work at the beginning, that advice let me feel that I could give myself grace in my every day work, and allowed myself to learn through the mistakes I made at the beginning.

What advice would you offer to those who are starting to search for grad programs?

I think some advice I got that really helped me and would like to offer to those who are starting the search for grad programs is to have a list of non-negotiables (wants vs. needs) that helps you narrow down your options for schools. Once you have your non-negotiables, it allows for you to be able to go into the grad school search process more informed on what you need in order to thrive.

Do you have someone you’d like to be featured as NECPA’s graduate student of the month? Nominate them here!
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