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Valdez to be honored among 29 Who Shine

Posted 05/11/15

Portrait of Alexandra ValdezFitchburg State University senior Alexandra Valdez will represent her institution as an outstanding graduating student when Gov. Charlie Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recognizes 29 Who Shine on Thursday, May 14 at noon at the Statehouse.

“I want to congratulate Alexandra Valdez and all 29 of the outstanding Class of 2015 graduates for the recognition they have received and thank them for their substantial contributions to their local communities,” said Gov. Baker. “Each of the 29 Who Shine honorees, in addition to being an accomplished student, is civically engaged in ways that improve the quality of life in Massachusetts.”

“Each one of our 29 honorees is from Massachusetts and planning to remain in Massachusetts,” noted Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Through their dedicated scholarship and deep engagement in their local communities, these students are making good on the taxpayers’ investment in their education.”

The state has recognized a student from each of the 29 public higher education campuses since 2011.

Alexandra Valdez has been an engaged student leader since arriving at the Fitchburg State campus as a transfer student in 2013. A first-generation college student born in the Dominican Republic, Valdez is passionate about increasing opportunities for higher education. Her experience working as the Latino liaison for Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley has inspired an ongoing commitment to civic engagement in her community. At Fitchburg State, Valdez helped resuscitate the campus’ Political Science Club and opened dialogue with city officials to empower students to be contributing members of the University’s host community. She is a member of the Student Government Senate, chair of its Senior Committee, and works as an orientation leader and peer mentor on campus, as well as serving as an officer in her sorority.

Valdez will spend the summer in the nation’s capital as an intern at the Washington Center. This fall she plans to return to Boston to continue her work as a Latino liaison.

The 29 Who Shine campaign asks each honoree to select a faculty or staff mentor to accompany them to the celebration in Boston. Valdez named Professor Joshua B. Spero, a member of the Economics, History and Political Science faculty.

“Prof. Spero has been a mentor throughout my time at Fitchburg State, teaching me the importance of persistence,” Valdez said. “He inspires students to push themselves to the fullest and to believe that everything is possible. I thank him every day for everything he has taught me in the classroom and beyond.”

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