Cecilia Joy Pérez '11
Cecilia Joy Pérez is a member of TASIS Dorado's first graduating class of 2011.
While enrolled at TASIS Dorado, Ceci, as she is fondly called, found herself involved in many aspects of the TD experience. Ceci was a leader both on the court and on the field as a member of the volleyball and soccer teams. She was president of the National Honor Society and a member of the Student Council, Model UN, and Oratoria. Additionally, Ceci holds the impressive title of TASIS Dorado's first U.S. Presidential Scholar, which is awarded annually up to 161 students across the U.S. and is among the Nation's highest honor for high school students.
Aside from being very involved in campus life, Ceci was an exceptional intellectual, with a love of knowledge, a drive for success, and a fierce competitive edge. Ceci has been described by her former teachers as a self-assured, serious-minded, laser-focused academic, and a vibrant and energetic athlete, who graced everyone with her infectious smile, generous spirit, and confident demeanor.
As shared by her senior advisor, Ms. Maritza Lozada, Ceci was "the perfect role model, setting high academic standards for her classmates." Ms. Royale McCormack, Ceci's English teacher, adds, "Ceci always struck me as the epitome of a scholar. Not only was she abundantly successful in her academics, but she relished the learning process and enjoyed the accumulation of knowledge. Her curiosity drove her to new depths of study, and she did it all with a bright smile, a hearty laugh, and a contagious effervescence."
Outside the classroom, Ceci's warm smile and fun-loving personality drew those in around her, as remembered by her senior year history teacher, Mr. Jaime Ramirez, "... [Ceci] was a vibrant [individual], always smiling and making others enjoy the moment. She was full of energy but very much aware of how [best] to channel it!" Ms. McCormack adds, "Ceci managed to find the right balance of education and fun. She never missed out on or held back from the activities that make TASIS such a joyful institution, but rather embraced them in the same manner in which she cherished her search for knowledge."
WHERE IS SHE NOW?
Currently, Ceci is an Associate at Point Bello, a strategic intelligence firm, in Washington, D.C. where she analyzes and monitors Chinese companies and government policies on issues pertaining to U.S.-China strategic competition. Most of Ceci's days are spent drinking coffee, analyzing Chinese language documents, and conducting data analysis on China's foreign investment. Aside from many cups of coffee, the most rewarding aspect of Ceci's job is her influence on the way people think about critical issues in the U.S.-China relationship.
Ceci's expertise in Chinese companies comes from years of analyzing their activities. Prior to Pointe Bello, Ceci worked as a research associate in demographics and political economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where she contributed to the Chinese Global Investment Tracker. At AEI Ceci got to explore big questions like what drives economic growth globally and what does a pathway for reintegration of the Korean Peninsula look like?
Prior to making her way to D.C., Ceci completed a certificate in Chinese American Studies from the Hopkins Nanjing Center in China and a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.
Most recently, in September 2020, Ceci was featured and honored by the Diversity in National Security Network and New America's 2020 Latino National Security & Foreign Policy Next Generation Leaders where she was among 40 Latino and Latina experts in U.S. national security and foreign policy. Honorees spanned government, think tanks, academia, civil society, and the media. The selection was based on excellence in leadership; work in national security or foreign policy, and contributions to issues of expertise through thought leadership.
REMEMBERING TASIS DORADO
What is your favorite memory of TASIS Dorado?
I have a lot of exciting memories from TASIS, like holding my first Oratoria trophy and scoring the winning penalty in the soccer team finals. However, when I think of TASIS, my mind drifts to a peaceful memory of me sitting in the school hallway, catching up on reading while enjoying the balmy breeze.
What advice would you offer to today's TASIS Dorado student?
Get involved as a student leader and participate in athletics. Be diligent with your studies. You'll be surprised at how much you learn by the time you get to college!
COVID aside, how have your Saturday afternoons changed since being a student at TASIS Dorado?
On Saturdays, I would hit the beach in Dorado and ride around in the golf cart. If I could still do that on Saturdays, I would. These days I spend my Saturdays doing outdoor trips with my brother Luis Joy '13. Recently, we went on a walk through Teddy Roosevelt Island in Virginia and kayaked on the Potomac River.
FUN WITH PHRASES
If I were a superhero, my superpower would be...
the ability to teleport, so that I could visit Puerto Rico whenever I want.
My biggest passion is...
my family and my island.
I'm motivated by...
my desire to improve the world.
The biggest influence on my career thus far...
was upon my TASIS graduation when I had the opportunity to visit China as a Presidential Scholar with the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. As a result of this experience, I found my passion for US-China relations.
Success to me is...
being in a position where I can help others.
In my profession, it's important...
to do my homework and substantiate my opinions with evidence.
One rule to live by...
work hard at what you like, and good things will come.
Former teachers, along with the entire TD Community, are not surprised to see Ceci taking the world by storm and are so very proud of her many accomplishments. It's clear there is more to be seen from Ceci!
Written by: Tara McCartney, Alumni Relations
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