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Yesenia Pedro Vicente

(yes-EHN-yah PEH-droh vee-SEN-teh)

Assistant Director of Student Access, Success and Engagement

Yesenia Pedro Vicente is the Assistant Director of Student Access, Success and Engagement. In this role, Yesenia oversees initiatives to increase educational opportunities for students from middle school through college. She is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumna, where she was a Carolina Covenant Scholar, Gates Millennium Scholar, and a member of the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program. After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, Yesenia moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where she served as a high school teacher and manager of a college-prep program.

Since moving back to North Carolina, Yesenia has remained committed to supporting students at all stages of their academic journey, most recently serving as the Assistant Director of The Graduate School’s Diversity and Student Success program. Yesenia is proudly “first-gen everything” and is grateful for the opportunity to support students as they achieve their goals. Yesenia brings with her a passion for diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across all levels of the educational pipeline.

Outside of academics, Yesenia is the proud daughter of Maya immigrants from Guatemala. She credits her parents for instilling in her the values of hard work, community, and resiliency. Growing up in western North Carolina instilled in Yesenia a deep appreciation for the outdoors and you can often find her exploring the many trails in the area. If she is not out on a hike, you can find Yesenia trying out a new restaurant or training for a long-distance race.

Get to Know Yesenia

Name your favorite podcasts.

“Crime Junkie”, “Code Switch”, “The Moth”, “Modern Love”, and “Lore”

Best perk of your job?

Interacting with students and campus partners! Each person has a different story and brings unique strengths and perspectives to the table. It is a privilege to work with and learn from the amazing people that make Carolina special.

In an alternate universe, what would you do for a living?

I would be an international food and travel blogger/social media influencer. This would allow me to travel around the world while highlighting people and businesses that make a difference in their local communities.

Name three things that people would be most surprised to learn about you.

  1. I have a pet rabbit. His name is Coco and he is a mini lop!
  2. I am part of an ax-throwing league.
  3. I studied abroad in Samoa. During my study abroad, we also visited American Samoa and Fiji. After my program ended, I decided to travel solo to New Zealand for a week

What's on your bucket list?

I want to learn how to make my mother’s tamales. She makes rice tamales that are stuffed with chicken or pork in a spicy red sauce and wrapped in banana leaves. They take a lot of work in terms of preparation and assembling, but they are worth it!

Whom do you admire...and why?

I admire people who are authentic. The people who show up in the world just as they are, despite fear of judgment from others. I also admire people who work hard, day in and day out, to achieve their goals. They inspire me to keep going, even when the going gets tough.