Miguel Terán López, assistant to the dean and college communications lead for the College of Education (COE), isn’t just a CSUDH staffer – he’s also a proud alumnus of the university, having graduated with a double bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Chicana/o Studies.
“As an alumnus of CSUDH, what I enjoy the most about my job is knowing that I am giving back to this campus and contributing to our students’ success, especially to first-generation students who come from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, just like I did,” he says.
Terán López has been at CSUDH for almost 13 years, landing a part-time staff position in the Department of Modern Languages soon after graduating. From there, he transitioned to the Department of History, then to the COE’s Division of Graduate Education, eventually landing in the Dean’s Office.
While there’s no such thing as a “typical day” in his position, Terán López’s tasks include coordinating meetings for the dean with internal and external groups, interfacing and providing support to students, staff, and faculty in the COE, managing the college’s social media channels, and leading or supporting COE events throughout the year.
“Everything about working at CSUDH is special, but particularly knowing that we are serving a student population that will benefit immensely from earning an undergraduate or advanced degree,” he says. “Nelson Mandela said, ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,’ and I wholeheartedly agree with this belief!”
Terán López is proud of the fact that each day, he plays a small part in CSUDH students’ journey to reach their academic goals, and break stereotypes. As he puts it, “Former President Hagan’s theme during his tenure was ‘America Happens Here,’ and current President Parham’s theme is ‘Transforming Lives that Transform America.’ I take both of these themes to heart, because I truly believe that our students are the future and that they will create a better tomorrow, and I am proud of being able to contribute to this transformation.”
His contributions have been recognized by the university, as Terán López was the recipient of the Staff Award of Excellence in Student Success in 2015.
Prior to landing a job at CSUDH, Terán López worked as a laborer on construction sites. He sometimes reflects on this occupation and its heavy physical workload, which could have been his life if he had not continued his education. “I used to carry buckets of mixed cement, sand and rocks up flights of stairs, and now I help build lives instead of buildings,” he says. When he’s not working, Terán López is a self-proclaimed “homebody” who loves to spend time with his family, listen to music, or watch movies. In fact, he’s got a collection of about 1,000 movies and is running out of space to store them all. “Thankfully, we now have digital formats that can be stored in the cloud!” he says.