Juan Carlos Flores, Dickinson College

Featured Scholar

Spring 2011

Juan Carlos Flores is undoubtedly a trailblazer. When he was elected Student Senate president last year, he became the first Posse Scholar, the first Hispanic-American and the first Muslim student to do so at Dickinson College.

Juan Carlos grew up in Los Angeles, the youngest of three children and the first in his family to graduate from high school. When a chronic illness set him back a full year as a freshman in high school, Juan Carlos challenged himself to not only catch up, but to get ahead, taking six community college classes. He eventually enrolled in his high school’s magnet program for government and law, where his passion for politics was ignited.

Now a senior at Dickinson, he is double majoring in political science and law and policy, with a minor in Italian.

“I got involved my first week on campus,” Juan Carlos says. “One of the initiatives I started early on was a student‑run voter registration program.”

As Senate president, Juan Carlos is involved with decisions that affect the entire campus community including the college budget and enrollment. Under his leadership, the 54-member Senate is tackling issues such as Greek life and improving the structure and efficiency of student government. One of the last measures he hopes to pass before graduating this spring is gender-neutral housing options.

“Student government has been extremely influential in terms of my personal and professional growth,” he says. “I chose Dickinson because I wanted a community where my contributions are appreciated—where I could define my own experience and apply what I learn in the classroom to my day to day.”

Juan Carlos’ post-graduation plans include pursuing a law degree or graduate degree in public policy. But first, he will head to Houston, Texas, as a Teach for America Corps member. He credits this opportunity in part to his recent internship with Education Pioneers, a D.C.-based organization that provides graduate students with fellowship opportunities in education.

“This internship really helped me to see that teaching is something I could be good for and vice versa,” he says. “It’s really about a passion for social justice.”