Dara Perales
MiraCosta College

Dara Perales is an integral part of the Letters, Transfer Department at MiraCosta College, where she channels her passion for literature and writing into shaping the minds of students. Armed with a Master's in Literature and Writing Studies from Cal State University, San Marcos, Dara's journey into higher education was spurred by her own transformative experience at a local community college. 

Reflecting on her inspiration to work within higher education, Dara fondly recalls how her local community college provided her with direction when she felt adrift after high school. Today, she is proud to be a full-time faculty member at the very institution that guided her path.

With a favorite motto of "Kindness is free," Dara embodies empathy and compassion in both her personal and professional life. When she's not sparking intellectual curiosity, Dara indulges in a myriad of interests and hobbies, including reading, walking, stitching, vegan baking/cooking, and traveling.

If Dara could teach a class on anything, it would undoubtedly be "how to bake amazing vegan treats," reflecting her culinary prowess and commitment to ethical living. However, her talents extend beyond the kitchen; Dara's most useless skill is the ability to wield a butterfly knife in each hand simultaneously.

Outside the realm of academia, Dara harbors a dream of swimming with whales in the wild for a living, showcasing her adventurous spirit and love for marine life. Despite her eclectic pursuits, Dara finds the most rewarding aspect of her work to be empowering students to recognize the power of their voices in the world.

When asked about her aspirations for the California Community Colleges system, Dara emphasizes the importance of unity and support across all communities to further the mission of community colleges. Reflecting on her journey, Dara notes that academia doesn't always align with common sense, offering a candid insight into the complexities of the educational landscape.

Dara's dedication to her students shines through in every interaction, with her most memorable moments often revolving around students who find their passion in English and change their majors as a result of her guidance. As for her own aspirations, Dara dreams of mastering the drums like a punk-rock god. 

For budding community college professors, Dara offers sage advice:

Be authentic and true to yourself.