Passion for numbers and culture adds up for Betzy Perez ’19

Senior year is moving fast. Soon-to-be graduates reflect on their biggest takeaways from life at CMC – and for a future beyond Claremont.

Why CMC: “I was drawn to CMC because of its strong economics reputation and small, tight-knit community. The first time I was here was for the spring Diversity Fly-In Program, and I immediately saw my potential for growth. I knew that attending an elite college like CMC would give me a lot of opportunities, not only during my college years, but after as well. And this turned out to be true — even better than I thought.”

  • Betzy Perez ’19
  • Hometown: Chicago
  • Majors: Economics and government
  • Activities: ¡Mi Gente! president, CARE Center diversity and inclusion fellow, First-Year Guide, senior interviewer for Admission, CEO of the In-Lend Fund

Academics: “I love numbers and knew I wanted to go into business, so economics was a given. But I was a little surprised by adding a government major. I took Gov 70: Introduction to International Politics early on, and that made the connection clearer to me. Actually, that class helped me fall in love with government and international relations. It’s where I saw economics and government become interrelated, and I was able to really learn deeply about how the world works.”

Early challenges: “Freshman year was tough. I was afraid to speak up during class or get involved right away. I felt inferior. Full-on impostor syndrome. I thought I would never be able to make a change or impact on this campus. I joined ¡Mi Gente! (an on-campus organization that celebrates and explores Latinx identity) during the second semester of freshman year. It gave me an outlet where I could be my authentic self. Being a Latina first-generation student, ¡Mi Gente! spurred a bigger passion in me. I learned to be proud of my identity and where my family is from, which is something I wasn't as open or vocal about before I joined.”

Identity and impact: “As president of ¡Mi Gente!, I was determined to grow the club’s campus presence. I formed partnerships with the Admission and Dean of Students offices, held events with the other 5C Latinx organizations, and hosted identity-exploration events for our Latinx students and allies. I’ve also done a lot of event planning with the goal of bringing CMC’s affinity organizations together as one, inclusive community. I’ve always seen ¡Mi Gente! as more than a school club. There is so much potential and I want to create a lifelong network for our members beyond four years. We often have students who don’t identify as Latinx, but are interested in learning more about Latin American culture and being part of our community. We’re a home away from home for a lot of our members."

Memorable moment: “I missed my WOA (Welcome Orientation Adventure) trip as a freshman because I broke my foot prior to arriving on campus. I became a First-Year Guide because I wanted to help first-years with their transition to college, but I also felt like I got a distinctive CMC experience after missing out on this trip. It’s definitely one of the most special, meaningful things I did here. As a senior, I didn’t want first-years to feel like there was a barrier because I’m older. It was important that they see me as a friend, as someone they could be comfortable having meaningful conversations with.”

Future: “My dream job is to work at a tech company in account management or business development. But I would also, one day, love to start my own college access consultancy. As a Chicago Scholar, it’s the reason I even knew about CMC. I know my path to college can help others and I want to give back to my community, especially other first-generation students for whom college would not be possible without a college access organization.”

On leaving: “When I think about what I’m going to miss, it always comes back to the community here. To get the real CMC experience, you have to be engaged. Join clubs. Build relationships with people. Get to know students and professors on a deeper level. In a few months, I’m not going to be able to walk out of my apartment and immediately see faces I know. That’ll be a big change. The support here has been so important to me and my personal and professional growth.”

Alicia Reynaga ’22