Job: Dean of Admissions
A Kind of Homecoming: Amy Takayama-Perez, BA Sociology ’96, MEd Counseling and Development ’02, always knew that she would work with students—but she didn’t know she’d end up as dean of admissions at her alma mater. Now working with students interested in and applying to Mason, Takayama-Perez offers a different insight from others. “I have been an out-of-state student, and then also a transfer student, during my time at Mason. I feel that adds a little bit of credibility [to my advice] because I can give some real tangible examples.”
Born Leader: Takayama-Perez has been taking on leadership roles since she arrived on campus. During her student days, she served on her sorority’s executive board. After graduating, she moved on to leadership roles at Mason that included serving on Mason’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and its Alumni Scholarship Committee, as well as serving as faculty advisor of Alpha Phi, her sorority. Along with being the dean of admissions since December 2012, Takayama-Perez has served as the executive director of the Washington Scholars Program for the past six years. Her leadership skills also extend to her work, as she started off her career in the Office of Admissions as the director of undergraduate recruitment and from there progressed to her current position.
Students Are No. 1: “I always wanted to be in a role with which I could serve others,” says Takayama-Perez, and as dean she has the perfect opportunity to interact with and make that personal connection with prospective students. One of Takayama-Perez’s goals when coming into the position was to increase the transparency of the application process to decrease student stress. Her goals have played out well: Mason’s fall 2018 freshman class was the largest and most diverse one yet.
Stuck on the Other Side: Now that her daughter has gone through the college application process, she has seen the admissions process from the parent side. “To be on the other side was really helpful; it gave me a really great appreciation. I joke with my staff—they really put up with me all year long because I would come in and say, ‘Hey, have we thought about doing it this way?’” With this firsthand experience, Takayama-Perez realized that “if [my daughter] had difficulty filling out an application or a question about something, I can only imagine what somebody who maybe is a non-native speaker, or this is the first in their family [to go to college], goes through.”