Student Spotlight: Angela Perez

Angela Perez
Angela Perez

Multicultural Management celebrates 10-year anniversary

Angela “Angy” Perez, 24, excels as a business student at Dakota County Technical College. Angy has made the most of her time at DCTC and will complete seven different Business programs, earning 191 credits during her four semesters at the college. When she graduates at the end of fall semester 2018, Angy will have an A.A.S. degree, two diplomas and five certificates in the following programs:

A 2012 graduate of Prior Lake High School, Angy attends DCTC full-time (she’s taking 20 credits this semester) while working 40 hours a week as a guest services agent at The Westin Edina Galleria Hotel. She also worked part-time completing an internship at Bailey Nurseries as part of her Multicultural Mentorship course. Isabel Toledo, human resources manager at Bailey, has served as Angy’s mentor, offering her an insider’s perspective on the world of HR.

“Isabel showed me what kind of situations I’ll encounter working in human resources,” Angy said. “She helped me grow as a person and as an HR professional. I got the chance to work at Bailey during the hiring season, which was very informative. Isabel interacts with a diverse workforce at Bailey, including people who speak Karen, Spanish and English. We became good friends over the course of my internship.”

“Angela takes her studies seriously and is very passionate about the HR profession. She is a leader in the classroom, keeps her team on task and delivers amazing presentations. She will excel in a corporate environment, adding the value of a multicultural perspective in any organization.”
Scott Gunderson, MPNA, CM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Business Management Faculty
Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Advisor

Journey to DCTC

Angy’s first higher education experience did not go as planned. She attended a community college, but didn’t feel confident in her ability to succeed.

“I struggled with anxiety and felt overwhelmed,” she said. “I just wasn’t ready for college.”

Eventually, Angy realized she was getting in her own way. She learned to trust herself and her confidence grew enough to try again. As it happened, her cousin, Arlene, is a DCTC graduate—and she recommended a technical college education as a smart option.

“Arlene majored in accounting and had a a great experience at DCTC,” Angy said. “I came to tour the school and met some faculty, including Harold Torrence, who sold me on the Business Management program. Everyone seemed nice and willing to help. I definitely made the right decision.”

“I vividly remember the day Angela Perez came to our campus visit a couple years ago. She openly shared her personal struggles and previous academic experiences. She was very receptive to our program description and was excited to learn about our classroom, where students can embrace opportunities to apply knowledge while building leadership skills.
“During her Multicultural Mentorship class, she paired up with Isabel Toledo at Baily Nurseries. Angela made such a positive impression with Isabel that she secured an internship and later a job at this wonderful Minnesota company. Angela has become a strong leader who is willing to speak her mind. She consistently performs above and beyond expectations.”
Harold Torrence, EdD
Business Management Faculty
Chief Diversity Officer

MSLA Faculty Advisor

Angy and her sister, Amanda, 21, a dental assistant graduate, walked during the DCTC Commencement Ceremony in May 2018. Because she has worked full-time while going to college, Angy has no student loans; she has paid her way at DCTC completely out of pocket. In January 2019, she will begin taking courses at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota with plans to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Human Resource Management.

“I love animals and my ideal career would be working in HR management at a location that cares for animals,” Angy said.

More about Angy…

Angy is the eldest of five children. She has two brothers, Miguel, 14, and Sebastian, aka Sebi, 10, and two sisters, Amanda (a 21-year-old DCTC grad), and Rebeca, 12. She has two cats, Lily, a calico, and Leo, a tuxedo.

“I highly recommend pet insurance,” Angy said. “I have it for my cats and it’s really helped out a lot.”

When she’s not studying and working, Angy enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also loves horseback riding—she’s gone on rides in the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado. She is looking forward to going on vacation in Hawaii one day with her boyfriend, Mario, 23, a Dreamer she met as a coworker at The Westin Edina.

“One of my favorite hobbies is researching my family history,” Angy added, noting that she is half Hispanic, a quarter German and a quarter Czech. She’s also bilingual, speaking fluent English and Spanish. “Researching my ancestry is something I’ve gotten into recently. My family and I have learned things we didn’t know before, and that’s given some of us closure.”

Multicultural Management 10-year anniversary

In fall semester 2008, Harold Torrence and Scott Gunderson, business management faculty at DCTC, began teaching a 34-credit Multicultural Supervisory diploma program. Harold and Scott designed the diploma to improve enrollment and graduation rates for students from populations historically underserved and underrepresented in higher education. The program was the result of an Initiative to Promote Excellence in Student Learning (IPESL) Institutional Award Project.

“Our main goal was to shrink the communication gap between mainstream, native-speaking supervisors and English Language Learning (ELL) employees with diverse cultural backgrounds,” Harold said, relating that the current Multicultural Leadership diploma, Multicultural Human Resources Management diploma and Multicultural Supervision certificate are now mainstays of the college’s Business department. “Our original Multicultural Supervisory diploma was one of the first of its kind in the country.”

The program’s curriculum brought  mainstream and underrepresented students together in teams that explored challenging multicultural case studies and realistic business simulations. This core strategy gave minority students the skills they needed to advance professionally in Minnesota’s business community. Native-speaking students learned ways to better navigate an increasingly diverse workplace.

“This diploma was a proactive response to the rapidly changing demographics in our state,” Scott said. “More and more minority students were opting for higher education, which meant we needed to find smart and creative ways to help them succeed. Today, ten years later, increasingly diverse labor markets continue to expand cultural and language barriers in Minnesota’s business environments. Graduates of our Multicultural Management diploma and certificate programs are equipped to bridge that divide.”

Scott Gunderson and Harold Torrence circa 2008

Scott Gunderson and Harold Torrence circa 2008

Angela Perez | Q & A

Angela Perez

Angela Perez

Why have you chosen human resources as your career path?
Human resources is very universal and can be used in many fields. I enjoy being hands-on and working with people. I thought that this would be a great fit for me.

What do you like best about the Business Management program?
The instructors are amazing, super-helpful and friendly. They want you to succeed.

What are the most significant things you’ve learned in your Multicultural HR, Leadership and Supervision courses?
We need to see things through different lenses—we all have our own cultures/backgrounds, but when we are able to come together, we can do great things.

What is one thing every DCTC business student should know?
DCTC is about education for employment. You will learn about real-life situations and what it’s like in the business world.

Three words that describe you as an HR professional:

What are the most important traits of an excellent supervisor?
Communicating and listening to their employees.

What is your business philosophy?
Treat others with respect and give them the opportunity to voice their ideas/concerns. That one idea could change things for the better.

What do you consider your toughest challenge in life?
Myself: I tend to make things more difficult for myself. That’s why I am pushing myself forward and trying my best to advance in my career.

Your greatest accomplishment so far?
Continuing my education.

Your highest goal?
Finishing my bachelor’s degree at Saint Mary’s and finding a job in human resources.

Angela Perez | 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: Fall—I like that the weather is not too hot and not too cold. I enjoy when the leaves are changing color, and bonfires are also perfect during the fall.
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): My favorite natural feature would be mountains near a body of water. Just being able to hear the birds in the areas, and looking at the calm water makes me feel at peace.
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: I used to play soccer as a goalie. I really enjoyed playing, but due to injuries I had to stop. I also enjoy watching football with others.
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Blue jay
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Europe—Germany and the Czech Republic
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas—you get to spend time with family plus I like watching kids open their presents.
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Horse
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Denzel Washington
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Shakira
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: Nature/national parks
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Balloons—I don’t mind the foil ones, but really don’t like latex balloons; it’s called globophobia.
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Supernatural—I’m binge-watching season 14 now.
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Complete my bachelor’s, then buy a house.
  16. Most valuable material possession:
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: I would buy a house with a fenced in yard. I want a place to call my own, and somewhere where I can have a dog run around.
  18. Dream occupation: My dream occupation would have to be something animal related.
  19. Person you would most like to meet: My ancestors
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: I would love to learn to speak German.
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Each other
Learn more about Business Management and Multicultural Management programs at DCTC by contacting:

Harold Torrence
Business Management Faculty

Scott Gunderson
Business Management Faculty