Spotlight: Shelly Perdomo
I had the pleasure of meeting with Shelly Perdomo, Interim Director for CMASS. We discussed the evolving role of CMASS on campus as well as hopes and desires for the future. Shelly expressed her priorities and described the means by which she moves forward to achieve her goals.
Shelly is from Harlem, New York City, one of five siblings and a first generation Dominican American. She is a Doctoral Candidate completing her dissertation in Educational Policy, Research and Administration at UMass Amherst.
Moving forward “You just gotta keep working hard and moving forward.” Shelly places importance on moving forward both in her own life and in encouraging her students. For the past 12 years, Shelly has educated, mentored, advised, and engaged students, faculty members, community partners, and administrators at various levels of higher education. Working in collaboration with professors in Social Justice Education, Women Studies, Sociology, African American Studies, Latin American Studies, Engineering, Polymer Science and STEM.
Visibility “I have done presentations for Residential Life, Financial Aid, Undergraduate Advising, and various other departments.” Shelly recognizes the importance of being seen. No one will know of your existence if you do not make it known and in her pursuit of helping others, she wants them to know she is there.
Availability “I’m busy, but I’m here. We are all here to serve the students and that is our first priority.” Shelly wants students to know that although they are staff and administration working at CMASS, they are accessible and students are encouraged to come and build relationships which will be beneficial not only for their time here at UMass but for the connections in the future. Networking is a key element to success.
Intentionality “You should not be doing things without a purpose.” Shelly is not the type of person to just do something for the heck of it. Everything she does has meaning behind it, whether it be to further her own career goals or to assist students who want to further their own.
Consistency “I am who I am,” and that is the truth. Shelly’s relational approach to mentoring her students allows her to maintain her freedom of expression. While students are more commonly exposed to dictative type of authority, Shelly offers a different vibe which many find easier to connect with. Her being her true self in all situations and not putting up a false front allows you to be comfortable being your true self and thus the relationship becomes real and more beneficial. Realizing that relationships are symbiotic, Shelly has an interest in learning more about the students she works with, past just the academics to help her better assist them as well as others.
Leadership “I want people to embrace their authenticity, building off their creative abilities and their intellect.” Shelly has been an agent of change helping to both diversify and enrich the university curriculum. Shelly continues to be part of an ongoing effort to recruit and retain faculty and students of color to create more diverse and socially just educational communities.
Stacey Linehan, CMASS Webwriter