St. Peter's Prep graduate named one of nation's 32 Rhodes scholars

Steven Rodas (New Jersey Journal)

Alexander Diaz feels like he serves as an example to his community and that it is possible to achieve anything in life.

As the youngest of three brothers growing up in a Spanish-speaking home in Union City, Diaz has always felt he had to be mindful of the resources available to be successful.

“I grew up with many friends, who through no fault of their own, had to work several jobs or were pushed down the wrong path,” said the 21-year-old Diaz, a senior at Harvard University. “I had to be very cognizant of my surroundings and work extra hard to make sure I was not engulfed in this all-too-common narrative.”

Diaz, who is interning with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, has been named one of just 32 Rhodes scholars for 2014.

The St. Peter’s Prep graduate is majoring in psychology and has focused his studies and research on the cognitive mechanisms that underlie unconscious race, ethnic and gender biases.

Diaz, whose family now lives in North Bergen, founded the Dominican Student Association to celebrate his Dominican heritage and create an outlet to discuss current issues in the Caribbean island nation.

Diaz also interned for the Harvard Kennedy School Latino Leadership Institute, where he helped raise more than $1 million by generating partnerships with companies including Univision, Coca-Cola and Walt Disney.

Diaz is also the manager of Harvard’s men’s basketball team and plays on a school club team.

As a Rhodes scholar recipient, Diaz will study for free at Oxford University in England.