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OJC Press Release ID: 2917

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Alvarez Names New Vice President of Student Services


Last week Dr. Timothy Alvarez, Otero Junior College President recently announced Sara Mata, Ph.D will be the new vice president of Student Services. Mata is replacing long-time Vice President Jeff Paolucci, who is retiring. She is set to begin her new role on May 15.

“I am looking forward to being a part of the Otero Junior College community and continuing the legacy of the phenomenal work that has served as a foundation for many students throughout the years,” Mata said. “Alongside Dr. Alvarez, I hope to be an agent in supporting his vision and pursuing positive changes for the future of OJC. At the core of everything I do is the question: how does this benefit the student? There is no greater reward than working with and empowering students to achieving their full potential. The work of OJC is essential to promoting student success and investing in future generations. I am truly grateful to step into the role as vice president of Student Services.”

Mata is coming from the University of Oklahoma, where she lead a National Science Foundation grant which promoted interdisciplinary research for graduate students while also strengthening pathways for students from underrepresented populations to graduate-level education programs. Having spent most of her career in higher education, Mata has spanned experiences at all levels of education, always with an emphasis in equity and inclusion. Much of this work has been focused with students who are first-generation, LGBTQ+, students of color and students who are DACA/undocumented. Serving both professional and community organizations, Mata has been involved with National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in Higher Education for over 10 years in both national and regional positions, currently serving on the NASPA Foundation Board of Directors as well as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board.

Mata received a Bachelor’s in Sociology with an emphasis in Juvenile Corrections and Treatment, a Master’s in Community Counseling, a Master’s in Sociology, and a Doctorate in Social Foundations from Oklahoma State University.

“I was delighted that we had such a qualified pool of finalists for the Vice President for Student Services,” Alvarez said. “I believe it reflects the positive reputation of Otero Junior College not only regionally, but nationally. Dr. Mata brings with her a wealth of experiences in student affairs. Further, her first experience in higher education was at a community college. She has been engaged with NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and has a national reputation for creative programming to serve the needs of first-generation, low-income and students of color. In addition, she has experience developing leadership programs. I know the community will help us embrace her. Her success is inextricably linked with our success.”

For more information contact Dr. Timothy Alvarez at 719-384-6871 or email


Press Release Photo
Sara Mata, Ph.D. was named Vice President of Student Services at OJC