Mark Cruz Mark Cruz Liberal Arts Student Orientation Services Team Caiman Advisor Mark Cruz was born in “Spanish Harlem” in May of 1981 and grew up in New York City. He attended Norman Thomas High School and dropped out, because of the difficulties of life. He decided instead to get his GED and completed that in a timely manner. He started working part time with the Boys Club of New York and realized that in order to get a good paying, full time job he would need to get a college degree. Mark started his Hostos experience in fall of 2005. He chose Hostos, because it was close to home and he felt that it presented a comfortable learning environment for him, because his cousin was enrolled in the Serrano Scholars Program. Mark started by taking remedial courses, but began to uncover all of the possibilities that could become available to him, if he worked hard and achieved all of his goals. Unfortunately, his mother took ill in 2005 and Mark knew that he had a responsibility to care for her. Eventually she fully recovered from her illness and Mark found his way back to Hostos to continue his education. In fall of 2009, Mark had his hands full with a full course load and a full time job, working at the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. He also decided to interview and become a part of the Hostos Student Leadership Academy’s Emerging Leaders Program. It was through his interactions with the members of the Academy that Mark discovered some new directions for his life; particularly with regard to devoting himself to volunteerism and community action. Over the course of his first year, as a member of the Academy, Mark began to play an integral part in the planning and development of volunteer activities and he also began working in two offices of the college making an impact with a large number of students. Mark was hired by the New Stars Center to be a Caiman Advisor, providing registration and peer mediation services to incoming freshmen. He also started working in the Leadership Office and assisting in the development of a core of mediators and some strong community bonds. Mark had the honor of being selected from a group of candidates to replace graduating SGA Senator Liliete Lopez in the spring of 2010 and he served in that capacity for the entire spring semester. He also ran for office, as a senator in that spring for the fall of 2010, and despite losing the election, Mark continued to feel empowered to make a difference. Mark has been a participant at the New York Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Caucus Conference in Albany in 2010 and 2011, The Somos El Futuro Conference in Albany in 2010 and 2011. He has attended the CUNY Emerging Leaders Conference at the City College of New York in 2010 and the LaGuardia Community College Leadership Conference also in 2010. Mark also took part in an ALFPA event, sponsored by Deloitte in the Financial District in the fall of 2010. Mark dedication to service has provided him with the opportunity to volunteer here on the campus as a tour guide to incoming students and during registration as a student advisor. He has also worked at events, painting murals, planting trees, feeding the hungry, working in soup kitchens and representing the college at political events and in parades. Mark has also been the coordinator of two valuable service events; a series of visits to Isabella Nursing Home (Geriatric Facility) in Washington Heights, where students have been ennobled with the opportunity to give some care and attention to those who marched along the road before them and he also managed to help student leaders revisit a senior center in Chinatown, to bring some Christmas joy to those who might otherwise feel displaced at that time of year. Mark has also taken the lead within the Academy to implement and work on the online portfolio system, known as Digication. He provided two training sessions for students in the Academy to help them to develop their online portfolios and in the upcoming fall, Mark hopes to be a part of a team that makes the online portfolio system part of the college’s standardized utilities. Mark has also served on the Middle States Leadership and Governance Committee. Mark was the recipient of the 2010 Puerto Rican Day Parade Scholarship, the 2010 Leadership and Service Award and he had the wonderful opportunity to visit his homeland in Puerto Rico in the summer of 2010 as a part of the Summer Study Abroad Program in Latin Studies. Mark is a three time National Model United Nations Delegate. He has been a head delegate each of the three times, in spring 2010 in New York, when the team represented the Dominican Republic, in fall 2010 in Washington D.C., when the team represented Ghana and in Spring 2011 in New York, when the team represented Burkina Faso. Mark is highly regarded amongst his peers and members of the Academy who have looked to him for guidance, support and training over the past year.