Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students, Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York
Office Representing: Student Affairs
Sofia B. Pertuz is a higher education professional with a uniquely varied career in student affairs, providing leadership in strategic planning, assessment, policy development, budget, inclusive excellence and critical incident management at various institution types, including public, private and religiously-affiliated. As the assistant vice president and dean of students at Hofstra University, Pertuz provides strategic leadership and direct supervision to six full-time professionals who work collaboratively to create an inclusive campus community to foster holistic student development, engagement and success, both within and outside of the classroom. Pertuz is an adjunct professor in the higher education program at Hofstra and has been an invited speaker on topics in leadership, diversity, social justice and LGBTQ advocacy at various institutions and conferences, including delivering a keynote in Spanish at a conference in Chile. Pertuz holds a bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and a master's and Ph.D. from Seton Hall University.
How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?
"I first got involved in higher education issues as an undergraduate student when I served as a resident assistant," Pertuz said. "I was charged with providing support to other undergraduate students and participated in training that exposed me to issues students faced as they entered and became acclimated to college life. Through my master's and doctoral courses, and as I progressed in my career in higher education, I was increasingly involved in the inner workings of higher education and learned how important it was to collaborate with others to share knowledge, research and best practices to create exceptional student experiences. I do not take the opportunities that I have received for granted and realize that all of us involved in higher education have a responsibility to provide access and opportunities for the generations coming after us."
Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?
"I applied to be part of the Forward50 because I remember how dependent my college attendance was on my financial aid package when I was in my college search process," Pertuz said. "As a first-generation student and Latina, I can bring the perspective of a United States citizen who immigrated from the Dominican Republic at an early age and was able to fulfill my parents' dream for a better life for me and my siblings through education. I was excited by this opportunity because I currently work at a forward-thinking institution and I am eager to offer my experiences and unique perspective to assist this committee with its mission to help future students gain access to higher education. I am living proof that with the right information, access and resources, individuals can take advantage of opportunities available through higher education to achieve great accomplishments. A committee like this is a perfect way for me to give back and express gratitude for all that I have received. Serving on this committee is truly an honor."
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