Former Bush School Student Strives for Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education

December 10, 2018

Sly Mata and President George Bush

Sly Mata and George H.W. Bush

Sly Mata wants to create a better environment for students in higher education, and he is using the Bush School of Government and Public Service’s community as an example to do just that. Mata graduated from the Bush School in 2011 with a Master of Public Service and Administration. He is now pursuing a PhD in higher education, leadership, and policy studies.

Mata worked as an Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion and then Associate Director at Cornell University following his graduation from the Bush School. He said the Bush School community allowed him to be successful at the prestigious Ivy League university.

To achieve his goal of improving the campus environment and public policy for people of color, women, and all students, he feels the need to diversify his skills. Mata is therefore attending the University of Houston for his PhD and is studying affordability, tuition deregulation, mental health, and trauma within students.

After his education is complete, he would like to stay in higher education but most notably wants to have an impact wherever he is.

“I just want to know what I’m doing is making a difference for students,” Mata said.

Mata expressed gratitude for his support system at the Bush School. Dr. Lori Taylor and Dr. Dominic Bearfield serve as mentors to the doctoral candidate. Regarding Dr. Bearfield, who no longer works at the university, Mata said, “That man is my lifeline.” His peers have served to prop him up throughout the years as well.

Public service has played a big role in Mata’s career. He said being a good public servant is important for university administrators and faculty. “Public service has always stayed with me,” Mata said.

Being a person of his word is also something Mata holds in high esteem as well as commitment and loyalty to what students and parents need in order to make sure students have a good experience at college.

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