Portrait of Francisco Vargas Alcántara

Francisco's work ethic is very strong - always producing top notch analysis and striking presentations of information for senior management.  Francisco has an excellent relationship with senior leaders and staff and is held in high regard for his independent judgment, professionalism, and positive attitude. He is extremely smart and has the maturity to know when and how to put forth his ideas and recommendations to enhance the mission activities of the office.

Fatima H. Pashaei
Supervisory Resource Manager, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity

Hi! I’m Francisco Vargas Alcántara. I am very grateful for the opportunity of working for the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity this summer. This experience has helped me better understand how energy policies affect minorities in the United States and of the upcoming workforce challenges this country will face, with respect to ethnic diversity, in the next decades.

I graduated with honors from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in International Relations. During my undergraduate studies, I was elected student senator for the Arts & Sciences Department, president of the Political Science Student Association and president of the General Student Council (GSC). In the fall of 2015, I was selected to attend the National Conference on Student Leadership in Washington, D.C. During the weeklong conference, participants attended workshops on social justice and networking events.

Weeks before Hurricane María struck Puerto Rico, I left Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico to attend Rutgers University - Newark to pursue a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Financial Management. In 2017, I was elected president of the Public Administration Graduate Association (PAGA) at Rutgers University-Newark. PAGA hosted academic enrichment and professional development events under my leadership. I also served as the assistant to the executive director of the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) during the 2018 Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado.

At Rutgers University- Newark, I am fortunate to engage with professionals who work in transparency in the public budgeting process, energy policy, and climate change. I am a member of the Rutgers Transparency and Governance Center (TGC). The TGC focuses on programming, research and projects related to public sector transparency and governance. I helped form a collaboration between School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) and the University of Puerto Rico’s National Institute of Energy and Island Sustainability (INESI). The collaboration is funded by the Rutgers University- Newark Chancellor’s Seed Grant and focuses on helping Puerto Rico achieve a resilient energy system and develop effective disaster management and response practices.

During spring break I participated in the International Leadership Experience (ILE) disaster relief effort in Puerto Rico. We traveled across Puerto Rico meeting with community leaders and installing solar suitcases in rural areas without electricity. This project was featured in the documentary Be the Light.

In 2018, I was selected as New Jersey-ASPA Student of the Year. I was recently accepted in the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics Graduate Fellowship Program for the 2018-2019 academic year. This program consists of both academic coursework and an internship with the state government.

After completing my master’s degree, I plan to pursue a PhD in Environmental Policy. My ultimate goal is to serve my fellow Puerto Ricans as an elected official. I hope to give back to the people who helped me on my path to success. When not working on coursework, I enjoy playing basketball and swimming.