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News > Alumni Stories > Alumni Spotlight - Juan M. Rangel Jr.

Alumni Spotlight - Juan M. Rangel Jr.

Name:  Juan M. Rangel Jr.
Alma Mater: Northwest Missouri State University (BS) and Kansas State University (ME)
Current City:  Raymore, Missouri
Current Job and Title: Director of Community and Family Engagement

Tell us more about your current role:

In my role at SchoolSmartKC basically I am charged with removing barriers for students and families so they can achieve their educational goals within the Kansas City Public School System.  So we invest in programs strategically that elevate students and families to  keep them informed about school quality and empower them to take action.

Describe what receiving the HDF scholarship meant to you at the time:

It was very meaningful to receive the support of my community and the investment they had made in my education.  I remember attending a learning pre-session on the day before receiving the scholarship in front of my family and community.  There was something that was said on that day that really stuck with me which was, “your community has invested in you…never forget to give back to your community”.  These words provided me the lens I would use to approach my professional career but also how I would get involved.

How did your experience as a HDF Scholar help you be successful?

Right out of college my first job which launched my professional career in education was as an educational counselor for LULAC National Educational Service Center (LNESC) it was our goal to support Latino families & students to consider post-secondary education.   At that time there were many barriers that students were facing for example high dropout, high pregnancy rates, and low academic achievement.  This provided me insight to the hardships of our community and many other communities.  I then became Executive Director of a social justice organization which then led to teaching Social Justice courses in higher education and becoming an administrator.  All of those experiences has helped me in my current role to strategically make investments that support disenfranchised communities.

What advice would you give to current HDF scholars?

Many pieces of advice that have been passed on to me by family and community leaders.  Always do the right thing.  See the good in everyone.  Listen then speak.  Never forget where you came from.  Hang out with the right people, “Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres” which translates to “tell me who you are with and I will tell you who you are” a Spanish proverb provided by my mom.

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