Rocque Perez will graduate this spring with a political science degree, and he has big plans. He hopes to secure a job that connects higher education with government relations and marketing. He is driven to help people, and he’s inspired by the community he found at the University of Arizona.
In high school, Perez’s university acceptance kicked off a scramble for funding, as he lacked financial support from his family and had significant responsibilities. He sought help from a director in the financial aid office.
“I was like, ‘Can I be really honest with you? I understand you have a default answer for the questions most students will have, but I don’t have the luxury of that and I really just need your help,’” he says.
“And we probably spent about an hour and a half going through everything. She took the time. It’s the people who took the time for me that don’t realize how much that afforded me thereafter. I want to be that person for other people.”
Perez has found ways to help throughout his time at Arizona. He served two terms as a student body senator, helping advance support for underserved student populations. He also served on numerous university boards and commissions and for the city of Tucson, in addition to serving as a congressional intern earlier this year.
He recently launched the nonprofit Changemaker Foundation, which aims to empower young leaders to create change and advocate for their communities. And he runs a small business called Wonder Media, selling apparel promoting multiculturalism and identity pride, with a portion of each sale benefiting his nonprofit’s scholarship funds.
The business name is no accident. Wonder is the root of everything he does, he says, and it pushes him to aspire for more. As Perez becomes a Wildcat for Life, he appreciates the opportunities he’s found, the sense of family he’s gained and the memories he will continue to embrace.
“I’ve taken part in or witnessed moments from unified student protests and clean-ups in our community, to the OSIRIS-REx touch-down and breakthroughs in university research.”