From the Caltech alumni magazine:
A Conversation with April Castañeda
April Castañeda, appointed in the summer of 2018 to the newly created position of assistant vice president for equity and equity investigations and Title IX coordinator at Caltech, will design and implement a comprehensive approach to all issues pertaining to discrimination, unlawful harassment, and sexual misconduct.
Though the role is new for both the Institute and Castañeda, she is no stranger to campus, having served in a variety of roles at Caltech (in the provost’s and president’s offices, as well as Human Resources) for more than 20 years before spending two year as the assistant director for human resources at JPL.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO DO THIS WORK?
I’ve spent most of my career doing things that are engaged around social justice. It’s important to me that people have the rights and the ability to do good work.
When I first came to Caltech, I was reluctant to be an intern here because before then I had always worked with underserved populations, and here I saw a lot of privilege.
About 15 years ago I was walking across the Caltech campus when I paused to listen to a young lady tour guide telling a group of potential applicants and their parents about life at Caltech. One dad asked, “How hard is the homework?”
The sophomore tour guide thought about it for a moment, and then broke into tears. After 10 or 15 seconds of sobbing, she recovered enough to say that while last year had been pretty tough, this year was much better.
But when Ms. Castañeda first came to Caltech, she, instead, “saw a lot of privilege.”