Angel Garcia on the campus at UNCW
February 7, 2022

Angel Garcia spent seven years at Georgetown University working in residence life, academic advising, college access and success. During that time, his interactions with Latinx students were by-chance meetings. As the new assistant director of Centro Hispano, Garcia plays a vital, direct role in Latinx students’ Seahawk experience.

“To be able to perform in a similar role exclusively to advance my heritage and my community was just what I needed, personally and professionally,” said Garcia, who joined UNCW in 2021. He also serves as the director of MI CASA, a program that helps Latinx high school students access higher education by pairing them with UNCW mentors.

His goal is to advance and support the journeys of Latinx/Hispanic people at UNCW and the broader community, he said.

“This involves creating sustainable practices for college access, affordability and success for high school students, addressing inequitable practices and systems at UNCW through co-curricular programming and elevating the Latinx, Hispanic and immigrant stories,” he said. “We have a great community and I enjoy being part of Centro’s family.”

Garcia hopes to expand resources to UNCW’s Latinx community by establishing a Latinx alumni board for UNCW students, an alumni board for the MI CASA mentoring program, and securing more financial support for the MI CASA program.

Garcia, a native of Managua, Nicaragua, started his higher education journey as a first-generation student at Hillsborough Community College in Florida. He later enrolled at Florida International University, where he double majored in humanities and philosophy. While at FIU, Garcia discovered his passion for student development and education. He received his master’s degree in student affairs with a concentration in conflict analysis and resolution from Nova Southeastern University.

“My mentors have been a big influence on my professional career, and their way of guiding me and investing time and energy in me has pushed me to return the favor by guiding and investing in the next generation of students and global leaders,” said Garcia. “My decision has been validated many times over by the relationships I have formed with colleagues, families, mentees, students and by all the lessons learned from the challenging and successful stories.”

Garcia, who practices an indigenous and Afro-Latinx faith called Ifa Orisha, uses his personal narrative to connect with students.

“Most times, higher education professionals assume we know what’s best for students. I would rather accompany them and extend a helping hand so they can create their own stories,” said Garcia. “If you ask what I strive for, I would say I try to share my story so that people can engage in healing practices to live a balanced life.”   

 -- Venita Jenkins