FIYou: Rafael Zapata

staff-7Name: Rafael Zapata

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic/New York

Job title/Department: Associate Director of Campus Life

Office location:  Wolfe University Center, Biscayne Bay Campus

In a nutshell: I am the advisor to Student Government Association and Panther Power (our spirit organization).  I serve as the BBC liaison to Homecoming and the Black Student Union and am a member of the United Way, Freshman Convocation and leadership summit committees.

Number of years at FIU: 17 years

What do you enjoy most about your job? Working with students

What do you think students and your fellow faculty/staff should know about your department/area? Our department works closely with students in providing leadership opportunities and ways to get involved on campus. We deal with a diverse number of student councils and organizations. We also contribute to universitywide and campus specific programming.

Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?  I would say anywhere by the bay. I love the ropes course – I was once a facilitator for it – and the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management patio. But I have a feeling I am going to love the new Panther Square and flag pole area with the new renovations to the Wolfe University Center and the new panther statue!

What is one thing you wish everyone knew about FIU?
How much we all care about the education and development of our students. How truly diverse our student population is.

How do you help make FIU “Worlds Ahead”?
We constantly are looking towards the future in Campus Life and in our Student Government.

Word(s) that best describe you: Flexible, dedicated.

Favorite TV show: Cheers, Arrested Development, Breaking Bad

What is playing on your iPod?  Everything! You will find ’80s & ’90s music, merengue, vallenato, classic rock, pop. 

Your proudest accomplishment: Yet to come!  But I would say my college degrees: bachelor’s (double major in history and Latin American and Caribbean studies) from Binghamton University in upstate New York, master’s in college student personnel from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU? Love to travel, catch up on my favorite TV shows, swim, spend time with family and learn something new every day.