Student Spotlight: Jose Pagan

Jose Pagan

Architectural technology major has roots in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Jose Pagan, 19, is majoring in Architectural Technology at Dakota County Technical College. Jose also works on campus as a student ambassador, a role that offers him opportunities to assist college staff, faculty and other students with Student Life programming, recruitment, retention and community relations.

Along with his ambassador duties, Jose participates in TRIO/Student Support Services and is a member of the Student Senate. He is on track to graduate from DCTC with his Architectural Technology Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in May 2022.

“After graduating from DCTC, I plan to transfer to either Dunwoody or the University of Minnesota to get my Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) degree,” Jose said. “My goal is to become a licensed architectural drafter.”

Anna Voight: Student Life perspective…

Jose has been a fantastic addition to our student leadership team! What impressed me immediately about Jose was his commitment to his own personal growth.

During his onboarding as a student ambassador, he shared with me his desire to improve his communication skills. We brainstormed some ideas for how he could grow in these areas, and Jose has followed through on all the things we discussed in just a month on being employed as an ambassador.

I have observed immense growth in his short time working on campus and see Jose as the type of student who will make the most out of any opportunity he is afforded. Jose has an exceptional work ethic. He eagerly completes whatever tasks need to be done with a smile.

Jose has a bright future and will be an exceptional employee to all of his future employers. It has been a joy and pleasure to be a part of his journey at DCTC.

Anna Voight
Associate Director of Student Life
Dakota County Technical College

More about the student ambassador role at DCTC…

Student ambassadors reach out to both future and current students to raise awareness of programs and services offered at DCTC. Student ambassadors promote student activities and campus involvement. They also assist with campus events.

Ambassador duties may include:

  • Assisting with Student Orientation & Registration and Ready, Set, Go!
  • Working with current and prospective students
  • Conducting or assisting with campus tours
  • Promoting student activities and campus resources
  • Staffing the Student Life front desk and assisting with clerical tasks
  • Assisting with student activities, open houses, and other campus events
  • Appearing in college promotional materials
  • Other duties as assigned (will vary based on student skill set and interests)

As a student ambassador, you will have an exclusive opportunity to work with DCTC students, faculty and staff while serving as a positive role model to our future and current students. Student ambassadors can elect to work fall, spring and/or summer semesters.

Student ambassadors should demonstrate the following attributes:

  • Knowledge and involvement on campus
  • Desire to represent DCTC
  • Leadership skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Outgoing personality
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Demonstrated initiative
  • Professionalism
  • Positive attitude
  • Respect for diversity

Becoming a student ambassador…

If you would like to be a DCTC student ambassador, please complete the Student Employment Application and email Anna Voight at after submitting the application.


More about Jose…

Born in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, Jose graduated from Two Rivers High School, Class of 2020. He moved with his family to San Juan, Puerto Rico, when he was 2 years old. His parents, who were born in Puerto Rico, moved the family back to Minnesota two years later to improve educational opportunities for the children. Jose went back for a visit at the age of 9.

“I would like to return to Puerto Rico again,” he said. “The land is very beautiful.”

Jose is a fraternal triplet. The names of his two brothers are Antonio and Gabriel. Gabe is also attending DCTC and is majoring in Graphic Design Technology; Tony is going to Saint Paul College to earn a degree in history.

“I’m the youngest of the three,” Jose said. “Although I like having the company, I would never change the fact of being an independent person. The hardest part of being a triplet is that when one of my brothers gets in trouble, we all get punished.”

Jose has four pets, three guinea pigs and one parakeet.

“My oldest guinea pig is Jagz, and he is turning 92 on October 1st—one human year is 18 guinea pig years,” Jose reported. “My second oldest is Love; he is 18 and his birthday is Feb 14th. My youngest guinea pig is named Sugar, and she is just a few months old; her birthday is in August.”

Jose added that his parakeet’s name is Lola.

“I connect with her the most,” he said. “She is what makes me smile every morning. Lola is 2 years old, but I don’t remember her birthday.”

In his free time, Jose enjoys playing Wiffle ball. He also likes Rubik’s Cubes, retro gaming, and designing floor plans. Jose and his family reside in West St. Paul.

Jose Pagan family gallery

One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:


Jose Pagan Q & A

Jose Pagan

What do you like most about Puerto Rico?

Family and the food, especially tostones [yellow plantains] and maduros [green plantains], and Mofongo, which is ground beef and plantain mixed together, and Pernil, which is pork. I also miss the beach.

What are the major cultural differences between life in Puerto Rico and life in Minnesota?

Puerto Rico is more about family and share-time like watching movies together and playing table games. In Minnesota, we have more independent individuals.

Why did you choose Architectural Technology as your major?

My grandfather designed a house for my grandma, but never finished it. I just completed the house 50 years later, and I’ve been in love with drafting ever since.

Words that describe you as a college student:

What is your favorite style of architecture?

Contemporary, Modern, and Adobe.

What advice would you give students thinking about participating in TRIO Student Support Services?

If you would like help with schoolwork or don’t know who you can talk to, meet up with TRIO, and they will never leave you hanging.

What do you like best about your role as a student ambassador?

I can help students find resources. I like helping people and talking to others

What are some of the advantages of being a student worker on campus?

I can talk to people, which was hard for me because I was always an introvert. I had to push my limits, and I am slowly doing well.

What person has influenced your life the most and why?

My mom because she was always there when I was down. She helped me move forward in life, and I would like to thank her for my journey.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

A successful drafter/future businessman. I have a lifetime dream of reducing homelessness in Minnesota.

Student Homelessness and Basic Needs Insecurity

by Staff WritersBest Colleges • Published September 29, 2021
  • Around 3 in 5 college students faced some form of basic needs insecurity in 2020.
  • Two-year college students consistently report higher rates of housing and food insecurity.
  • Those at highest risk of basic needs insecurity include LGBTQ+ and Indigenous students.
  • Students experiencing homelessness still can get federal financial aid for college.

Jose Pagan 12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: NBA and NFL; Phoenix Suns and Green Bay Packers
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Greece for the architecture
  3. Most exciting thing you’ve ever done: I finished a 50-year-old, family-based floor plan
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Open my homelessness business 2) Give it all to charity 3) Make a house and give it to someone in need
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: DC Comics: The Flash
  6. Time period you would explore if you could time travel: 1970s building of my grandparents; floor plan with my Grandpa Pepe
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Just be successful in everything I do
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Phoenix
  9. Dream occupation: Drafter or businessman fighting homelessness
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Alexey Pagitnov, creator of Tetris
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Remove bad energy from my body, or be stress free forever
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Climate change; we will soon use solar and wind power; wind is what I am exited about
Learn more about Student Life, including Student Senate and student ambassadors, at DCTC by contacting:
Associate Director of Student Life

Learn more about Architectural Technology by contacting:
Director and Faculty
Architectural Technology, Construction Management, Interior Design

Learn more about TRIO/Student Support Services at DCTC by contacting:

Xuong Tran
TRIO/Student Support Services Advisor

Learn more about the newly renovated Architectural Technology program space by reading:

The Bill Johnson Center for Architectural Technology and Design