Gioconda guerra perez
“...I don't even imagine if I didn’t have the International Center. We hung out at the International Center every day, for everything. That was where we were all the time. We would study there, eat there, and I would work there. And every time we had an issue or a problem, we would run to the International Center advisor and ask, ‘Help us!’ -- because we didn't have anybody on campus who we could ask for help. So I don’t know how it would have been, not having an International Center.”
Gioconda Guerra Pérez was born in 1973 in Santa Marta, Panama. She gained a strong interest in the social issue of education from a young age. Pérez spent three years at the University of Panama before completing her last year of study on a full-ride scholarship to the University of Louisville, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism. While pursuing her Ph.D. at Louisville, Pérez furthered her interest in sociology and began research on the experiences of Latino immigrants, particularly the effects of labor laws on the Latino immigrant working community. She completed her Ph. D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development as well as an M.A in Sociology and Communication, then went on to the University of Indiana Southeast where she continued to work with immigrant students and families. Later, she became the director of La Casa cultural house, a part of the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations at the University of Illinois. There, she works to help Latino students find the support and resources they need to pursue their own educations, boosting the retainment of underrepresented minority students and opening opportunities to achievement that were closed off before.