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HSF Leaders

Cyndia Morales Muñiz

  • Gender: Female
  • Undergraduate Degree: Sociology
  • Hometown: Brooklyn
  • State: New York
  • University: Binghamton University
  • University: St. John's University
  • University: University of Central Florida
  • Organization: University of Central Florida
  • Position Title: Director of HSI Culture and Partnerships
  • HSF Leadership Role: Member, HSF Advisory Council, Orlando

“I wanted to complete the highest level of education possible to honor my parents,” says Cyndia Morales Muñiz. Her mother, who worked as a seamstress, and her father, as a landscaper, grew up in Puerto Rico with limited educational opportunities. They moved to the mainland, settling in Brooklyn, New York, where they raised Cyndia and her older brother and sister, who joined the workforce after graduating from high school.

As a first-generation college student and first-generation doctoral student, she says, “I had to learn how to navigate the system of higher education on my own.” Despite these challenges, she found her way. She attended Binghamton University and graduated with BA in Sociology, before attending St. John's University to pursue her master’s degree. This led her to the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, where she earned an EdD in Educational Leadership and has worked, ever since.

Now the Director of HSI [Hispanic Serving Institution] Culture and Partnerships at the University of Central Florida (UCF), her first job at the university was as a member of the adjunct faculty, teaching both undergraduate and graduate-level classes. She continued teaching when she became the Assistant Director of Multicultural Academic Support in UCF's Multicultural Academic and Support Services Office. Next, she served as Assistant Director of Hispanic Initiatives in UCF's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, before moving to her current position in which she “provides strategic leadership and stewards national partnerships that advance UCF’s Hispanic Serving Institution objectives.”

Cyndia has earned numerous awards in recognition of her professional achievement, among these, the 2018 Women’s History Month Congressional Honor conferred by Florida Congressman Darren Soto in recognition of her invaluable contribution to the community. Other awards include UCF’s 2016 Faculty/Staff Diversity and Inclusion Impact Award and the 2016 Top Latino Leader Award from the Council for Latino Workplace Equity. She was also recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as one of 2015’s 40 Under 40.

Citing what led her to join HSF’s Advisory Council in Orlando, she said, “I am passionate about accelerating Latino student success, because I know first-hand the transformative power of education,” She adds that HSF's work in advancing higher education for Latino students fulfills an even greater purpose: “supporting the overall well-being of the United States.” Cyndia also serves on the council of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institution Educators.

Cyndia attributes her success to love of both her family and her culture, perseverance, and resilience, noting mentorship as another critical factor. “Keep going!” she urges aspiring college students and young professionals. " No matter what challenges you may experience, do not quit working towards your goals. Be a lifelong learner. Seek out opportunities to grow. Invest time and energy in building meaningful relationships.