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Alumni of the Year

Kleber Perez

Good evening President Valencia, Board of Trustees, distinguished guests, faculty, staff, family, friends and Graduates of 2019:

First and foremost, I want to thank ASA College and the Alumni Association for selecting me as 2019 Alumnus of the Year. I am standing here at this podium to share my joy, my excitement, and my gratitude to all who helped me to be where I am today.

This started back in 2012 while I was watching the news.  I heard about ASA College and the opportunities afforded to immigrants looking for academic success and a better life. ASA Admission staff made me feel comfortable and walked me through the process.  They also made me aware of how hard the journey would be, but I felt excited and motivated to enroll into the Computer Degree program.

Being a student at ASA College, I am sure just like most of you, I struggled. It was very hard for me as I had a full time job and was enrolled as a full time student. The commute from home was over 2 hours away every day.  I had limited time to do assignments, I had sleepless nights worrying about exams and my responsibilities to my family. It was very tiring and tough to continue my education. However, I was determined to reach my personal goal. I tried hard to manage my time with school, family, and participating in school activities. Regardless, I became the President of Peers for Career Club and at the same time, I was a Federal Work Study Employee for Computer Division. Honestly, I can say all these struggles paid off in the end when I received the great news that I was going to graduate. It was a great feeling, not only for me, but for my entire family. Soon after I graduated in June 2014, ASA Career services helped me in my job search; They prepared me for job interviews, and gave me the tools to succeed.  Thanks to Career Services, on July 2014, I was gainfully employed as a Computer Programmer. I went on to earn my Bachelor’s Degree in CUNY/CITY TECH in 2017.

I am proud to report that I am currently employed as an Application Engineer for Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank earning a six-figure per year salary. Moreover, I will obtain my Master of Science Degree in Data Science from CUNY/School of Professional Studies in 2020.

As an immigrant, there has always been that fear of not being able to finish my career path, so I can relate to how most of you are feeling. As graduate of ASA College, we must always support and encourage each other to do better and accomplish our goals. Do not be afraid to network!

ASA became a part of my family. I pursued my education and it opened unexpected doors for me.  Despite the struggles, ASA College was the vessel that helped me to achieve a higher education and reach my professional goal. Thank you ASA!

My advice to the class of 2019: You must persist and take failure as part of the road to success. Without failure, you would never taste the greatness of success!

Congratulations and best of luck to all!