Natalie Lara ’25 is a first generation Mexican American whose parents both came to the United States as young adults. Natalie was the first in her entire extended family to attend undergraduate school and now is the first to attend law school.
Jj Perdido ’23 knows who he is and what he wants, and he’s driven to achieve every goal he sets for himself. As a digital journalism major and regular contributor to the Pace Chronicle, the student-run newspaper on the Pleasantville Campus, Perdido has taken on many responsibilities in his tenure here. He’s a first-generation student mentor, an Orientation Leader, and a member of both the Setters Leadership Program and Alpha Chi Rho fraternity—all roles he’s served with pride. “The one thing I want out of life is to become a father and teach my children how to become more successful than me. And hopefully the people [who] I have the chance to influence can take that same mentality of setting up those you affect to become more successful than you,” Perdido told us.
Those leadership qualities started early on when he joined his high school’s morning news show, The Warrior News, in his sophomore year. “I really felt in my element and that being a news anchor [was] definitely what I want[ed] to do,” Perdido explained. “I think it’s very important to know what is going on in your community and [the] world. That is what news brings you.” He also discovered his love of writing then, too, which set him on the path of pursuing a career in journalism. “There’s something about the simplicity of it; putting your thoughts on paper is so appealing to me. We’ve been doing it in different forms for hundreds of years and it evolves slightly, but still has so much impact.”
When it came to choosing a college, Pace seemed like a natural fit. And when Perdido toured the Pleasantville Campus, his decision to apply Early Action was solidified. “I’ve loved every second here, have met many people, and have gotten more opportunities to get involved than one person could ever handle,” he told us, and he’s certainly taken advantage of everything we have to offer. Recently, Perdido was named sports editor for the Pace Chronicle, which involves a lot more than just writing articles. “I reach out to our sports representative and let him know what I want to write about, and he’ll set me up with an athlete to interview. The most difficult part is scheduling it, since I am usually busy, as well as the athlete, as well as our sports representative. It typically works out, but that is probably the biggest challenge,” he explained.
As a journalist, Perdido has had to hone his people skills, which he said he initially picked up from two unlikely jobs: one at a moving company near his hometown in Pennsylvania, and another with Pace’s IT Helpdesk as a student assistant. “To put it into perspective, there are certain ways that we have to carry different pieces of furniture,” Perdido said of his moving job. “Some can be anywhere from 200 [to] 400 pounds. There have been times where we will begin to carry a large couch, for instance, and halfway to the trailer, the client will ask us to turn around and bring it back because it is not supposed to go.” Uh, yikes.
On the flip side, in his job for the IT Helpdesk, Perdido was faced with client requests that his department didn’t handle, such as, for example, with Blackboard, which another team is in charge of. “The problem is, [they’re] usually very backed up and may take a couple days to fix individual problems. Some people cannot wait that long and have exams or assignments due hours or minutes after they call us. It’s difficult to tell them that there’s nothing we can do in a stressful situation for them,” he said. Sounds like he had to cultivate a lot of patience and dedication, and it shows in all his work—particularly as a member of Alpha Chi Rho.
“My fraternity’s motto is ‘Be Men,’” Perdido told us. “I think being a man means to care for those around you and to be a beam of light for those you can be one for. I definitely think that trying to influence those around you in a good manner is one of the most important things that you can do in life. My fraternity has taught me that.” Wise words.
It’s clear that in everything he does, Perdido is passionate about affecting change and giving back to his community. We’re so excited to see what he achieves next! You can say you knew him when.