Julio Reyes ’12 will be the inaugural program director for the First-Generation College and Low-Income Student Center starting June 15, wrote Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Mary Grace Almandrez in a community-wide email Monday night. Reyes is currently at Oberlin College and Conservatory, serving as program director for Oberlin’s Undocumented Student Initiatives, assistant director of student outreach and success and Latinx student life coordinator. As program director of the FLi Center, Reyes will be tasked with developing a strategic plan for the center that incorporates the needs of first-gen, low-income and undocumented students, including students enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
During his first months at the University, Reyes said he hopes to begin a dialogue with his colleagues and student leaders to further his vision for the center. Reyes will “make sure that the center continues to be a space that focuses on community building (and) wellness,” he said. “When I think of community, I think of ensuring that we’re putting forward intersectional identities,” Reyes added.
While he was a student at Brown, Reyes learned a lot about how to “navigate the world around me … including institutions like Brown,” he said. Those experiences “cultivated my understanding of social justice and education,” he said.
Reyes said he hopes to “build upon those experiences that I had at Brown as a student and ensure that we’re continuously transforming … institutional culture (and) environment” to improve the experiences of students on campus.
Reyes was selected by a search committee composed of undergraduates, graduates and administrators. The committee’s hiring process began in early February, said Alexis Rodriguez-Camacho ’18, co-president of First-Gens@Brown and a member of the search committee, and culminated in two weeks of interviews with candidates.
The committee was “looking for someone who would be thoughtful,” said Rodriguez-Camacho. “We really wanted someone who understood the complexities and nuances” that come with identifying as a first-gen student. Rodriguez-Camacho hopes that the addition of a director will aid the FLi Center in developing a more cohesive vision, he added. “Everyone has a different … idea of what they would want the center to look like,” so the committee sought “someone who can organize and bring together all these different … viewpoints on the trajectory of the center,” he said.
Reyes’ “ability to relate to students as a (former) first generation, low-income student at Brown” made him stand out in the interview process, Almandrez said. His experience as an alum and as a board member of the Brown University Latino Alumni Council will enable him to utilize his connections at the University to be a strong advocate for students, she added.