Carlos ’18


Carlos ’18

Major: Political Studies

Currently: Manager of Persistence at EMERGE

“I work for EMERGE, a leading college access and success program that serves over 2,400 high school fellows across 5 Houston-area school districts and nearly 1,100 college scholars attending more than 150 selective colleges and universities. We work with first-generation, low-income students. My title is “Manager of Persistence” and I spend most of my time building partnerships between our organization and colleges and universities across the country. I oversee our scholar population in the west, northeast, southeast regions and the Houston Community College System. Last year I traveled to visit with Deans, Support Offices, and Provost at schools like Stanford, Cornell, Harvard, Brandeis, Tufts, and Northeastern. A particular highlight so far was presenting at the 1vyG Conference.

In my current role on the EMERGE College Success Team, I oversee a scholar population of about 350 students attending selective colleges and universities in the West, Northeast, and Southeast regions. I also oversee our student population enrolled in the Houston Community College System. I spend most of my time building relationships with student support offices (student affairs, financial aid, etc.) to develop strategic partnerships between our organization and the school to ensure that our students have the tools they need (financial support, career advising, mental health services, etc.) to persist and graduate in four years. In this roles I travel to different schools across the country to visit with staff on campus and create a strategic vision for our partnership and what funds may be available specific to our students. I also use data to create strategic plans to ensure our organization is meeting its external facing goals. Prior to this role I was with the EMERGE Development team leading fundraising efforts for the organization.

I was working as an education consultant for the Costa Rican Ministry of Education prior to joining EMERGE. I think I always knew I wanted to pursue a high impact career where my job would contribute to educational equity. While abroad I was helping lead efforts to ensure Costa Rican student had access to college and soon realized this was work that was needed in the US. I then joined EMERGE and continue to be inspired by the work I do today. Ultimately I’d like to work with a school district superintended, join a state school board, get involved in education policy, or work for a college administration. I have always been passionate about education and even ran for a seat on the Houston ISD school board while a student at Pitzer.

I majored in Political Studies at Pitzer, so I don’t think my work necessarily relates directly back to my major. However, this is something I appreciated about Pitzer. I was able to explore a discipline I felt passionate about while it may not have related directly to a career I wanted to pursue. While at Pitzer I discovered a passion for political parties in the US and abroad, however, its something I haven’t followed up on because of our current political climate. A goal I’d like to accomplish is to create a system that holds school boards accountable for the policy and budgets they implement.

My biggest advice is to always continue stepping outside your comfort zone. Ask for tasks that may be new to your role and excel. Prove your worth to the company or organization you work for by being willing to take that step.