Cyndia Morales Muniz
What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I am an Assistant Director of Multicultural Academic and Support Services in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services. In this role, I help support Multicultural and First Generation College Students with their professional development to ensure their career readiness upon graduation.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
I arrived to UCF in 2008 to pursue my doctoral degree. I first served as a Graduate Assistant for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and then went on to serve as a Graduate Research Associate for the College of Graduate Studies. In 2012, I joined the office of Multicultural Academic and Support Services. Before arriving to UCF, I worked as a Substitute Teacher for New York City Public Schools.
What is your academic background?
I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Binghamton University, a Master’s degree in Sociology from St. John’s University and a Doctoral degree in Educational Leadership (Higher Education) from UCF. Additionally, I earned Graduate Certificates in Latin American Studies and Entrepreneurship.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
My favorite UCF memory is the day I met my husband. I was presenting at a Puerto Rican Leadership Summit in the Pegasus Grand Ballroom and he was in the audience. UCF is not only my place of employment, but the place where I met my best friend, soul mate and love.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be?
I would establish a Puerto Rican Studies Institute (PRSI). It would be modeled after the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, City University of New York. The PRSI would be a dedicated space to learn about the Puerto Rican experience in Central Florida. It would produce publications and documentaries, and offer workshops in Puerto Rican history and culture. Central Florida is now the primary destination for Puerto Ricans from the Northern states, as well as the island, and UCF should be at the forefront of preserving, promoting and sharing knowledge on this population.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Surround yourself with positive people who truly want to see you succeed, value your skillset and talents, remind you that you are capable, and nurture your persistence.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I would want it to be a Cultural Pride Award bestowed to a student during Hispanic Heritage Month who demonstrates a commitment to the preservation and promotion of Latino cultural values. I am proud of where I come from and encourage everyone to be proud of their heritage.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I would like to have lunch with Dania Suárez, Assistant Director of Administrative Services in the Office of the Provost. I have found that Administrative Assistants often provide great perspective in multifaceted organizations.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would like to thank Dr. Fernando Rivera, Dr. Rosa Cintrón and Dr. Maria Cristina Santana. All of them have supported me in different ways at different points in my career. I appreciate their guidance and example.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Dr. Rosa Cintrón has inspired me both as a teacher and researcher. Her love for Higher Education and her respect for the Academy are admirable. What has inspired me the most is her ability to remain true to herself and her community.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why? “Latin@s in the U.S.” was the first class I enrolled in as an undergraduate that was focused on my culture. I remember feeling overwhelmed when reading the syllabus; I was amazed at the amount of literature that existed on my experience. That classed inspired me to learn more about myself, so I minored in Latin American Studies.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
I love pasta! Pasta with lots of cheese and lots of sauce.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
My favorite book is “My Beloved World”- A memoir written by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
La isla del encanto- Puerto Rico.