CAHNRS NewsCollege of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
New recruiter to help WSU college students find resources for success
Published on June 28, 2021
When Elizabeth Perez was in high school, she didn’t have much guidance when it came to higher education and working towards a career.
“My parents are immigrants, so their understanding of the U.S. college system was limited,” said Perez, whose parents hail from Cuba. “I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know the pathway, how to apply for scholarships, or about the resources available. It took a great advisor at the University of Utah before I started getting helpful direction.”
Perez took those experiences to heart and wanted to help future students find their way. As of July 1, she will be the Director of Recruitment and Retention for WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). She’s moving to Pullman for this position from a similar role at Utah, where she’s worked since 2016.
“I’m passionate about helping students find the right program for them, along with the resources they need to succeed,” Perez said. “Representing students, and potential students, from underrepresented backgrounds is so important.”
In her new position, she will work with CAHNRS academic advisors, representatives from high schools around the state, and lead the CAHNRS Ambassadors program.
“We’re really excited for Elizabeth to come to CAHNRS,” said Rich Zack, associate dean of Academic Programs for the college. “She’s passionate about helping students, especially first-generation students and students from underrepresented groups, and we know she’s going to bring in more top students to WSU and our programs.”
The Ambassadors are a group of outstanding students from every major in the college who attend events as CAHNRS representatives. They talk with prospective students about the various programs, but they also meet with alumni and industry groups.
One of Perez’s first priorities will be building relationships in places like tribal communities, migrant communities, and in places that aren’t well-represented in CAHNRS.
“I need to see what things are working in recruiting, what isn’t working, and learn how we can make a difference in those communities,” she said.
Perez’s first job after graduating from college was teaching high school English and the Latinos in Action college readiness program. As a teacher, she worked with universities to help get her students into different schools.
“I realized that there’s a lot of fun, challenging work to build better pathways to college for people from marginalized backgrounds. I feel like I found my calling,” Perez said.
She said starting out teaching in high school provides her a broad perspective on the American education system.
Perez, along with her husband and three daughters, is moving to Washington for this position, and to be closer to family members who live in western Washington. She’s looking forward to travelling around the state with ambassadors to visit high schools and stakeholder groups.
“I didn’t have a lot of guidance when I was younger,” she said. “I love being a resource for new generations and can’t wait to start telling people about the opportunities at WSU and CAHNRS.”