Gary Santos Mendoza, director of Rutgers-Newark's Intercultural Resource Center, had a hard time finding acceptance in college as a queer Latino man.

After joining Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the oldest Latino Fraternity in existence, while attending St. John’s University in New York City, he learned that some of his brothers were also queer but not out. That is when Santos Mendoza started to realize the need for greater visibility and representation in the Latinx community.

His experiences with anxiety and depression led him to enter the field of higher education working providing support to students like himself.

“Being Latinx, queer and dealing with mental health challenges, it was important for me to give back in a very specific way in higher ed and ensure the kids like me not only see themselves in the world, but that they feel more than worthy to be in it,” Santos Mendoza said.

Santos Mendoza was recently recognized for his work as a 2024 American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Diamond Honoree – an award given by the nation’s leadings student affairs organization.  Read more about Santos Mendoza in this Rutgers Today profile.