The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is committed to and proud of its cultural diversity, in order to achieve and sustain respect for our very diverse communities. The Office for Diversity and Inclusion offers a variety of programs and initiatives for students, faculty, staff, and the community that speak to the rich array of diversity (ex: geographical, racial/ethnic, socio-economic, linguistic, religious/spiritual, etc.) that we pride ourselves on.
Ramón Zapeda | 2008 Graduate
My name is Ramón Zepeda. I graduated from UNCP in May 2008 with a major in sociology and a minor in Spanish. I was the first member of my family to graduate high school and attend college. Needless to say, first year at UNCP was a roller coaster. I was undecided and I did not know what to expect because no one in my family had made it this far. I struggled to keep with my course work and I got very homesick. One day, I came across the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs (Office of Diversity and Inclusion) and it completely changed my college experience. Robert Canida and Lisa Bullard were very welcoming and they made me feel like I had found a second home at UNCP. They invited me to different events on campus that celebrated diversity and cultures and they encouraged me to participated in the Latin American Student Organization (LASO). I decided to join them and I met other students that shared a similar background. I found motivation to stay in college from the staff, my peers, and the welcoming culture at the Office of Multicultural and Minority Affairs (ODI). My grades went up and my self esteem improved.
I continued to visit Robert Canida to check-in about life and my academic work and he became my mentor. He showed me the many opportunities that were offered to UNCP students. As time went on, I continued to grow as an individual and as a professional. I did a summer internship with Student Action with Farmworkers (where I now work), I did a semester in Washington, DC, I helped start an interest group that later became a Latino fraternity on campus, and I became an advocate for my community. After college I taught English as a second language, worked as a community and labor union organizer, and continued to visit UNCP to share my experience with current students. I am currently a program director with Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Durham, North Carolina. I always remember what it was like for me to find motivation and mentorship when I was a young college student. Diversity, inclusion and celebration of cultures is a big part of my current job and I am glad to have great mentors to look up to. I am now in a role where I get to mentor young people because I work with high school and college students. I strive to be as welcoming and supportive as my UNCP mentors.
David Simons | 2007 Graduate
I graduated from UNCP in 2007 with a BA in sociology. If you remember I started out with a different major and took one SOC. 101 class and was hooked, shortly thereafter I joined you and team at the Office of Diversity and Inclusion starting my sophomore year. This was a valuable experience for me. I can affirm there is no doubt your guidance and our talks about the importance of celebrating and appreciating diversity has propelled my career and more importantly–my life. Since graduation (over a decade ago!) I have traveled most of Africa and the Middle East continuing my personal education and appreciation of other cultures and ways of life. For however enthusiastic and eager I was in college when we spoke, my passion for Diversity and Inclusion has grown ten-fold. I truly consider this subject to be a lifelong passion. I have worked in many fields so far, from senior investment consultant, City of Raleigh nature specialist, health an insurance, mentor programs, homeland security, and now I work for infrastructure technology at Cisco Systems. My experiences and understanding within diversity and inclusion absolutely assisted in that success.