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Méndez Translates Campus Leadership to Board Position
Two years later and a continent away, 2009 UST alumnus Thomas Méndez is still applying and expanding the skills he learned as a student leader.

Méndez is currently working toward a master’s degree in international political economics in Buenos Aires, Argentina though a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship. Despite the distance, Méndez continues to cultivate stateside relationships and plan non-profit and service projects for the future.

“I grew so much as a leader at UST,” Méndez said. “The UST environment is a great petri dish to try different things, to fail and to learn from all of those successes and failures. I’ve learned that education is an active process; your education isn’t about the classes you take, it’s about your approach to life and the way you interact with your environment. Since graduation, I have come to appreciate the education I received at UST.”

Méndez said that opportunities continue to grow from contacts he made at UST. A chance introduction to Ted Wills, president of the North American Educational Initiatives Foundation (NAEIF), at the Rev. William J. Young Summer Social Justice Conference, resulted in a lasting relationship.

In December of 2009, Méndez was recognized as an outstanding college leader with NAEIF’s Robert H. Jackson Leadership Award. In January, he was asked to serve on NAEIF’s board of directors. The organization is perfect fit with Méndez’s experience and interests.

Méndez said that NAEIF sponsors international exchange and study abroad programs for American students to Mexico. Students learn from the culture, develop friendships and grow together in their understanding of the world.

“While at UST, I studied abroad in Mexico and Argentina. Those experiences, coupled with my current studies in Argentina, have informed, strengthened and molded my own world view,” Méndez said. “NAIEF is focused on working with university leaders and I want to help students gain leadership skills that have served me so well. I am very honored to serve on the NAEIF board and I view this as a unique educational opportunity to learn from people with more experience and wisdom.”

Read more about Méndez’s adventures in Argentina.

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