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Jennifer Rangel is a Master’s candidate in the Department of City & Regional Planning. She is a member of UNC’s Latin@ Education Research Hub in the School of Education and a member of the UNC Women of Worth Events Committee.

1. What made you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
First, in order to be able to give back to the neighborhood that raised me, Oak Cliff in Dallas County, I knew that I had to leave and attain an education that would empower me to create a positive change. Second, I want to serve as testimony, that we can do a lot with a little if we have the “ganas” to reach our potential regardless if the opportunities are far away from home (comfort zone). Prior to committing to UNC, someone once told me, “Texas is not going anywhere, you can always come back later.”

2. What’s the thing you love most about Chapel Hill?
The people – I have developed wonderful relationships with people who at first were complete strangers, but after a meaningful conversation, a friendship/mentorship formed. From my experience, people from this area are not afraid to help others or share a smile.

3. If you had any advice for someone thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, what would it be?
As my mom would say, “echale ganas” (give it your all). When you place yourself outside your comfort zone, you will find hidden treasures that you did not know you had. Believe in yourself and take ownership of the opportunities granted to you. If not now, then when?

4. What is your dream career after you’ve completed your studies?
I plan on doing a variety of things in my lifetime: I want to be a professor at a community college in my neighborhood and run for Dallas City Council. My goals, centered around Oak Cliff, are to: inspire people in my community and motivate them to maximize their potential while bridging the neighborhood, regardless of people’s race/ethnicity, via community projects.

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