Welcome to the ACE Alumni Spotlight, where we highlight our alumni and share their stories.
Dr. Ricardo Pacheco is a purpose-driven leader in the Latino community. As a first-generation college student, Ricardo boasts not one, but two degrees from ACE. In 2021, he completed the Ed.D. in Leadership. He then came back and completed an MBA in 2023. We were excited to learn what inspired him to embark on another master’s degree and where his degrees have taken his career.
ACE: Congratulations on completing the MBA! We’re curious – why did you choose to get another degree from ACE, specifically the MBA?
Ricardo Pacheco (RP): I chose to get another degree from ACE, specifically the MBA, because of its affordability and the great faculty members. Along with my doctorate, I believe it was essential to learn about business practices for my future endeavors.
ACE: What was your favorite thing about your ACE experience?
RP: Both my doctoral journey and MBA program enabled me to discern my personal life with better appreciation. The blessing of surviving prostate cancer and embracing my wife and daughter every day is worth more than any prestige and influence I enjoy as a community leader. My success is my family’s success, and when I march with my classmates or virtually, my family will be there in spirit, soul and body. This is why ACE was not a good choice; it was a great choice. ACE believed in me, gave me support and ensured that if I put in the work, I would cross the finish line with the help of faculty and support staff.
ACE: How do you hope to make a difference in your community with your degrees?
RP: I am passionate about helping underserved Latino families. Through my organization, My Bread is Your Bread, we provide meals and valuable resources to communities that need them the most. I am also dedicated to motivating Latino students to pursue a college education. My goal is to open a purpose-driven leadership school for underserved students. During my time at ACE, I have learned that being a successful leader requires dedication, compassion and a genuine commitment to serving the community. I am excited about the future and continuing to make a positive impact.
ACE: Besides your degrees, what did you gain from your time with ACE?
RP: I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of learning, engagement, feedback, critical thinking skills, implementation and application. Through gaining knowledge of new strategies, methodologies, learning styles, advocacy, diversity and research skills, I was able to experience and witness my own personal and professional growth. ACE’s faculty and support staff were instrumental in providing me with the necessary support to advance my education.
ACE: What advice would you give to someone wanting to continue their education online?
RP: Shifting to online learning can be overwhelming for many individuals. Learning from home has challenges, but determination and motivation are crucial qualities that can help students navigate this transition successfully. Determination helps students stay on track and focused on their goals, even when facing obstacles. Staying motivated is also essential, especially when discouragement seems insurmountable. I had doubts about completing my academic journey. Still, my willpower to dream and my faith background gave me the courage to finish my online education at ACE, which provides all the necessary tools for success.
ACE: What advice would you give to other first-generation college graduates like yourself?
RP: A young man achieved a remarkable feat by becoming the first Latino male in his family to graduate from high school. Since then, he has earned two bachelor’s degrees, two graduate degrees and a doctorate, and will soon complete a micro-credential by the end of June. Attending college is an outstanding achievement, and you should feel proud. Being the first in your family to attend college makes your friends and loved ones proud of you. Keep striving, overcome obstacles and gain new knowledge. With the help of ACE, anything is possible.
Being an American College of Education alumni has its perks. When you return as an alumni for another program, you can save 5% off your tuition with the Alumni Continuing Education Grant.