Carlos Velez is the Diversity and Outreach Program Coordinator for the College of Engineering Student Success Center.
Please tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised here in San Antonio. I’m a second generation American, with my parents’ families coming from Mexico and Puerto Rico. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and a Master of Education in Higher Education Administration. I have worked in higher education since 2011, having worked in Admissions, Financial Aid, Academic Advising, and Career Services.
What is your job title and what do you do?
I and the Diversity and Outreach Program Coordinator for the Student Success Center. My role is to help support under-represented students within the College of Engineering. I like to categorize my role into two areas: improving the student experience and improving student support. Currently, I am trying to assess students’ experiences to use as a guide for how we can improve.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best think about my work is getting to help set the foundation for these efforts. Diversity, equity, and inclusivity have gained a large focus among college campuses and industries across the country. Being on the front end of this and getting to find new ways to support historically marginalized groups is really exciting to be a part of.
What is your proudest moment working with the COE?
I have only been working here with the COE since December, so I don’t have a specific moment that stands out yet. What has made me most proud throughout my time here has been the dedication and accomplishments of our students. Out of all of the colleges that I have been a part of, I truly feel that we have the hardest working students. It has been great seeing the commitment our students have for learning and preparing for their future, both inside and outside of the classroom.
How do you define success?
I am the type of person who likes to consistently take on new challenges. When my goals are accomplished, I seek further ways to improve and grow. Since this can make it difficult to fully achieve everything I set out for, I view success through progress. When I make steps to learn or improve through my work, then I view that as success. This definition also helps success feel more tangible and accommodates for times when learning or growth comes from setbacks or challenges.
Who was your most important mentor and why?
My most important mentor is my father. My father was always a guiding light for me throughout my life. He showed me how much the perspective and attitude I bring towards life events can drastically shape the outcomes. No matter the situation, he always had a great attitude, was able to find ways to push forward and instill hope in those around him.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
My travel is mostly dictated by food. With that in mind, I would really like to travel to Japan. I have been on a big sushi craze, so getting to try some of the best sushi in the world would be amazing. Japan also has such a rich culture that is so different from here in the U.S. So, getting to experience that between meals would be a great compliment to the trip.
Any random facts that you’d like to share about yourself?
I am an absolute cat lover. I have two kitties, Luke Skywalker and Black Kitty, who I adore. I have a soft spot for pets and always welcome people to show me pictures or videos of theirs.