WOMEN SHAPING HISTORY
Doris Cintron, Dean
The City College of New York
How did you choose your current career?
I came from Puerto Rico when I was four years old. I grew up in the South Bronx and attended New York City Public Schools. I experienced the best and the worst these schools had to offer student populations with diverse and immigrant backgrounds. And as I moved along the trajectory of being “educated” (often fraught with minefields) I experienced, both inside and outside the classroom, the power of discovery, imagination and resiliency, and the transformative, life-changing power of gaining knowledge about yourself and the world.
From an early age, because of my personal experiences and seeing what my family and community experienced, I knew I had to be a catalyst for change. That is why I entered the education profession. For me providing a good education is about creating positive change, it is about human and community development, about providing access and awakening possibility and responsibility.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced; how have you resolved them?
Challenges have been many, some unique to me and many universal to growing up female and being a member of an immigrant group on the margin of a larger society. I don’t think listing them is as important as stating that resolution comes when you realize that often the particular challenge is not unique to you. That support can come from where you least expect it and learning to see and seize opportunity is critical for success. Resolution comes when you “show up” and engage with others to identify problems and take responsibility for finding solutions.
What are some of the accomplishments you’re proudest of?
I can’t isolate one accomplishment from another. Every success and failure has been a building block for a new accomplishment — some major and others not — that have shaped my personal and professional life.
I take great pride in being the mother of an extraordinary daughter who is bold, independent and socially responsible. She has benefited from many talented educators.
What would you describe as a turning point in your life?
The turning point in my life was the moment I made the conscious decision to live by my own definition of who I am.
Who have been the most influential mentors in your life?
My mentors have been my family, my friends and my community. They have also been the countless individuals who remain invisible, who quietly triumph over misfortune, who show resiliency, grace and courage every day and who never fail to see you and prop you up.
What advice would you give to young people today?
Take every opportunity to learn, challenge yourself to always do better, never let others dissuade you from dreaming big and never be the first to say no to your dreams. Get an education and encourage everyone else you know to get one, too. #