Omar Perez is graduating with a B.A. in philosophy with an emphasis in pre-law and a B.A. in political science. He is also minoring in Chicano/Latino studies and with certificates in Chicanx and Latinx studies in secondary schooling and social justice and social change. He is the Dean’s Medal nominee for the Department of Philosophy.
“What is extraordinary to me about Omar is that he encounters philosophical material with a fresh and curious sensibility that is also connected to a general desire to make meaning. He is not afraid to ask questions about authors and ideas,” said Dr. Andrew Fiala, professor. “He has a philosophical attitude and curiosity that should serve him well after graduation, wherever he ends up.”
Perez is from East Salinas and is a first-generation student. Despite the struggles, he excelled in his educational career. On top of graduating with two majors, one minor and two certificates, he has also won awards such as the Doumanian Ethics Award, which he received for an essay on Western philosophy and its implications on animal welfare. He also received the President’s Service Award for completing more than 100 hours of community service in a single academic year. This year, he was selected for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program 2023 cohort, which has allowed him to work on a research paper with Dr. Fiala.
While at Fresno State, Perez volunteered with Saint Agnes Hospital and recently became involved with their Footsteps Program. He volunteers with CASA of Fresno and Madera along with Stone Soup Fresno, where he was a tutor for a STEAM camp held during last year’s spring break, which primarily serves minoritized students.
“Omar speaks proudly and with great gratitude of how much Fresno State in general, and the College of Arts and Humanities in particular, have provided him with the opportunities to overcome life obstacles and thrive, which I know he will do given his impressive advancements at this level,” said Dr. James Rocha, professor.
After graduation, Perez plans to continue his education and receive his master’s in philosophy with the ultimate goal of attending law school.
“A key takeaway from ancient philosophy is the idea that philosophy is not only a form of study; rather, it is a way of life. [D]espite facing adversities, one is still able to bloom.”