Name: Kevin Alejandrez
Major/Minor: Sociology/sports leadership
Hometown: Independence, Ore.
Best study spot: Lounge in the Werner University Center
Advice to incoming freshman: “Do your thing! Be honest with what you want from college and go for it.”
Growing up in Independence, Alejandrez felt some ambivalence about staying close to home for university and was considering out of state universities. It was his participation in Upward Bound, a college preparatory program, that encouraged him to attend Western.
“At first, I wasn’t that excited to come here, but I fell in love with it.”
Initially, he thought that physics would be an interesting topic to study, but after realizing that WOU did not offer a physics major, he started looking at other fields.
“I happened to take a sociology course because my advisor recommended it and I really enjoyed it so I kept taking classes like it. Eventually, I decided to major in it,” he explained.
With encouragement and support from Drs. Maureen Dolan, Dean Braa, and Peter Callero, Alejandrez developed a strong passion for the field of sociology, which he plans to pursue after graduation.
“This fall I’ll be moving to the University of Kentucky to start a Ph.D. program in sociology.”
This exciting accomplishment is reflective of how involved he has been throughout college. In four years, he has been a Multicultural Representative Mentor, ODphi fraternity president, Multicultural Student Union executive board member, Summer Bridge Peer advisor for the Student Enrichment Program, as well as part of Student Leadership Activities board and PLUS Team.
Last year, he worked as a Community Liaison for the City of Independence.
“My goal was to conduct outreach to Latino families in the community, draw them into the Civic Center, open doors of communication and collaboration between the community and city government, as well as organize and facilitate a variety of events, meetings, and interviews. I analyzed previous work done within the city and gave recommendations for growth moving forward.”
As a first-generation college student, he made it priority to serve his local community and support other first generation student success in school. He has been a mentor and tutor for Latino students in the Monmouth-Independence area. Being part of the SMART reader program at Independence Elementary School was one of his favorite volunteer activities.
Recently, he has balanced his studies with work as an on-site manager for an apartment complex composed of mainly Spanish speakers. Aside from regular on-site duties, he also assists in translating documents and working with tenants with day-to-day needs.
Despite numerous accolades, Alejandrez was humble when discussing his accomplishments.
“Watching people grow has been the best thing for me at WOU. To watch new students come in and learn what they can do in terms of leadership or their own personal lives has been really cool.”
Western holds many good memories for Alejandrez, but he is looking forward to taking the next step in his education. He will celebrate graduation by spending quality time with his dad and sisters who will be visiting from California, and working as much as he can before making his way to Kentucky in August.