Brian Mayén Perez is a Senior Political Science, Spanish, and Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies (LALACS) major at Gustavus.
Originally coming to Gustavus to study physics, he soon changed his major to better fit his interests and passions.
Aside from being a Student Leader in the cafeteria, Brian spends much of his time working with the organization Language Buddies, which he’s been a part of for the last four years.
Language Buddies is a community engagement program where Gustavus students can work with members of the Saint Peter community to improve language and transcultural awareness. The program partners with Saint Peter schools, community centers, and Cambria.
Brian has taken on a wide range of responsibilities in his work with Language Buddies.
He does a lot of the scheduling, orientation presentations, and meetings with advisors to improve the programs. He also works as a lead interpreter and liaison to many of the partners of the program.
“[Brian is] approachable and welcoming towards everyone he meets. He is a positive, uplifting asset to the Gustavus community.”
-Junior Monali Bhakta
Brian points to Language Buddies as one of the biggest highlights of his time at Gustavus thus far.
He has appreciated being able to work with Angela Dwyer, a Spanish professor and advisor for the program.
He hopes that people will remember the hard work that he’s put into the program.
He’ll continue to work to improve the program and help people in the community.
In addition to working with Language Buddies, Brian spent part of last year as an intern for the Minnesota Council of Churches working with refugee services.
His work here very much mirrored the work he’s done with Language Buddies. He helped to provide resources to newly arrived individuals in the Mankato area, such as with health care options.
He currently interns for the Advocates for Human Rights, doing research and advocating work for immigration issues.
His work with community engagement and immigration issues provides Brian with a sense of fulfillment and joy.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than helping people and giving back to the community,” Brian said.
Brian was recently honored by Minnesota Campus Compact with the President’s Award for his commitment to civic responsibility and leadership.
He looks forward to attending the annual summit in April at St. Catherine University.
After graduation, Brian plans to move to Minneapolis and hopes to work for a nonprofit to continue his work with improving the lives of immigrants and refugees.