Associate Professor, Department of Social Work and Equitable Community PracticeJoined USJ: 2009
A native New Yorker, Madeline Pérez De Jesús never saw herself leaving the city for Connecticut until she discovered the University’s Latino Community Practice program. “I felt the job description had my DNA splattered all over it,” De Jesús said. “While I hadn’t used the term ‘Latino Community Practice,’ it described my work perfectly.” She now serves as director of the University’s Institute for Latino Community Practice.
A social worker by trade, De Jesús had been a community organizer in the Latino community. “From my perspective, all research should result in action,” she said.
Her approach hinges on two main concepts: listening and building solutions. “Listening upholds the concept of the lived experience,” De Jesús explained. “The first step is to listen to the people so you can frame the issue through their lens. Next, is the opportunity to build a solution.”
De Jesús inspires students towards activism through knowledge and awareness. “As a community, we have to watch that we don’t silence people,” she said. “I teach my students that everyone has knowledge and everyone should be heard and respected.” From that vantage point, comes change.
Ph.D., Education, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (honorable distinction)
M.Phil., Education, Philosophy, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
M.S.W., Social Work, Hunter College, City University of New York
B.A., Psychology, Saint Francis College