David Pérez, Vanderbilt University

Featured Alumnus

Summer 2014

Vanderbilt University Posse alumnus Dr. David Pérez II is an assistant professor in the department of educational leadership at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is conducting a national study on the achievement patterns of male Latino students at selective colleges and universities.

“I want to contribute research about why people like me successed in college so that when others work with Latino men or other underrepresented groups they abandon the deficit mentality and see the potential,” says David.

David holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Vanderbilt and earned his Ph.D. in higher education from Pennsylvania State University. He mentored a Posse while earning his master’s and proudly reports that all of his Scholars are college graduates and many are pursuing advanced degrees. He later worked in the residential life offices at Syracuse University and New York University, where he focused on leadership development programming and promoting diversity and social justice on campus. Today, David is on the tenure track at Miami, where he has been a professor since 2012.

According to David, his impressive academic and professional accomplishments might not have come to fruition without the support of The Posse Foundation. David graduated from one of the poorest performing high schools in New York City—the school was closed for poor performance the same year David received his Ph.D.—and he initially struggled academically when he arrived at Vanderbilt.

“Posse changed the trajectory of my life,” David says. “My struggles early on motivated me to persist and to help other Scholars. I pursued a career in student affairs to connect people to the right resources and help other students navigate some of the obstacles I faced.”

David is using his research and influence as a professor to educate future student affairs professionals and to understand how institutions of higher education can create support systems that allow all students to be successful.