Vargas joins PBSC Belle Glade campus as new dean of educational services
Dr. Roy Vargas, a former administrator for Milwaukee Area Technical College with a background in business and chemistry, has joined the Palm Beach State College Belle Glade campus as dean of educational services.
He was hired after a nationwide search that drew 470 applicants. Vargas served for the last year as interim dean of the Schools of Business and Media & Creative Arts at MATC. Prior to then, he was associate dean of the School of Business for two and a half years and a full time business/supervisory management instructor for 11 years. He also has served as a lecturer and adjunct business professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and as a chemistry professor at two universities in his native country of Costa Rica.
Vargas, who holds a doctorate in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin, worked for two years at then Connecticut-based Analitica de Centroamerica (Perkin Elmer Co.) in San José, Costa Rica, representing the company to the Latino American market and providing technical support and sales in the region. He managed a more than 200-member sales team in most of the Latin American countries. He left there in 1995 to start his own small businesses, including Proquisa, which was a distributor for international chemical and biochemical corporations. In between running his two businesses in Costa Rica in the mid-90s, he taught chemistry classes at local universities, furthering his college-level teaching experience that began when he was in graduate school.
“Dr. Vargas brings a wealth of cultural, managerial and community college experience,’’ said Dr. Holly Bennett, Belle Glade campus provost. “With his background in the sciences as well as his experience as interim dean for business and creative arts, he has a well-rounded knowledge of the courses that we offer here. We are excited to have him here, and he has already proven himself to be a major asset to our campus. He’s made himself very well-known with the faculty and staff.”
In addition to his higher education experience, Vargas’ background in business and as an entrepreneur will help the campus as it continues to work with the School District of Palm Beach County and business and industry leaders in the Glades to develop a more streamlined and economic approach to job training for that area’s workforce.
Vargas, who officially started March 16, said he was attracted to Palm Beach State because of its commitment to excellence and the opportunity to help the community. He also values the College’s diversity, including its ethnic diversity. Like MATC, where 55 percent of the students self-identify as minorities, PBSC is no longer a majority institution; 28 percent of its students are Hispanic and 26 percent are black. For many, English is their second language.
“When you are an ESL student, functioning in this society is a challenge,’’ said Vargas, who did not speak any English when he first came to the U.S. in 1988 to pursue an advanced degree after earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Costa Rica. “By telling my stories it helps students to understand that things are not easy. You have to work hard, and the only opportunity that we have is via education. This community has a considerable amount of bilingual students, and making that impact is important to me.”