KDChi Senior Tackles Global Issues

KDChi, Beta Chapter Senior meets opportunities through choice not circumstance

Enriqueta “Katie” Perez doesn’t let anything stand in her way. Whether it’s selling tacos at school to pay for a class trip to Europe or teaching English to children in China to fund study abroad, she’s tackled every obstacle that attempted to slow her down.

Growing up in a low-income household and attending a school with a high-dropout rate, the senior political science and English double major admits that the road to Texas A&M University hasn’t been easy. And despite being a first-generation college student, Perez hasn’t let her past dictate her future.

“For me, college was like a walk in the dark because I didn’t know which direction to take,” says Perez. “I’m just making my own path and taking advantage of the opportunities that I’ve had.”

Scholarship program guides first-generation students

For Perez, coming from an inner-city high school in San Antonio, the main question she faced upon going to college was how to survive college when no one in her family has gone before her. It was hard coming to college and looking for support from my family because they’ve never been in my shoes, so they couldn’t understand the emotions that I going through at the time,” said Perez. fter being accepted into the Regent’s Scholarship Program, which assists first-generation students in their academic goals, Perez soon realized that she was not alone. As a Regent’s Scholar, not only has the scholarship helped tremendously, but the mentoring and support network they provided helped me realize that most of us come from the same backgrounds,” said Perez.
Perez on a study abroad trip to China.

Looking towards a future combating global issues

Perez’s disposition towards advocacy reflects her future career aspirations. Inspired by a graduation trip to Europe, Perez found that she could combine her life-long dream of becoming an attorney with her interest in global issues. What excites her most about law is reading about court cases and the many different ways to interpret court documents. With her recent induction into the 2010 class of the Academy for Future International Leaders, Perez has the chance to further learn about international relations from the program’s mentors and guest speakers. hen it came to choosing a language to satisfy a degree requirement, Perez chose Mandarin Chinese because of her love of Chinese culture. She admits that what attracted her to the culture was the ideal of genuine relationships that the Chinese form between each other and that they extend towards foreigners.

She’s only been learning the language for the past two years, but during her study abroad trip to China last year she discovered that she didn’t need to be fluent to earn an internship at the Qingdao Museum. As part of the Chinese Language Immersion Program at the museum, she taught Chinese children and their parents English and a few American customs, such as holidays. I was really nervous at first because with Chinese, if I get the tone wrong, I could be saying something completely different,” said Perez. Through teaching, Perez says that she gained a greater appreciation for the language and an awareness of global culture and communication. (In the photo to the right, Perez sitting on the Great Wall of China.)

Appreciating the past while focusing on what’s ahead

With plans to attend law school in the near-future, and graduation just around the corner, Perez has taken the time to reflect on her college experience. One of her favorite classes has given her the chance to do just that.
“Creative writing has helped me put my life into perspective,” said Perez. “My experiences have given me great material to write about because no one else has lived them.” Perez hopes to use these experiences to show others that nothing is impossible.

Katie is a sister of Kappa Delta Chi's, Beta Chapter at Texas A&M University. She's set to graduate in May 2010.

Article posted as courtesy of Texas A&M, College of Liberal Arts.

Full Article available here. Contact: Monica Sales 979.862.4879
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