Article by Avani Anne
Photos by Lea Twicken
Special thanks to Alex Pedroza for helping translate and transcribe Angelicaʼs interview!
Who are the people who keep the Hoch running? Make your drinks in the Café? Ensure that your dorms are clean? All our dining services workers, dorm attendants, and other F&M staff work to sustain Mudd. We want to introduce a few of them to you so you can know a bit more about their lives inside and outside of Mudd. Next time you see them, be sure to say hi!
Suzette Ledezma | Café Barista
If youʼve gone to the Café before 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, youʼve probably met Suzette Ledezma behind the front counter. The 23-year-old can be identified by her signature pink streaks, bubbly personality, and special ability to remember everyoneʼs order. Ledezma has worked in the Café at Mudd since 2020 and hopes to one day become an esthetician specializing in eyelash extensions. This dream came about when Ledezma and her sister went to get their lashes done, but they did not turn out so well. So, Ledezmaʼs sister suggested that she learn to do lashes herself. Ever the quick learner, Ledezma picked up the basics of lash extensions in a day, eventually mastering the skill within a month. Now, Ledezma runs a side business doing lashes on the weekend, and hopes to become certified at the local beauty school. Outside of work, Ledezma also loves watching YouTube (her favorite social media personality is Bretman Rock), is a huge BTS fan, and has become slightly too obsessed with TikTok (just like the rest of us!).
Virdiana Perez | Café Lead
Regulars at the Café will also know the incredibly friendly Virdiana Perez. Originally from Mexico City, Perez moved to the U.S. in 2001 when she was a teenager, and joined Mudd after high school. She has now been part of the Mudd community for 19 years. Perez has worked all over Dining Services, beginning as a cashier for the Hoch, then working as a barista at the old Hixon Court Coffee Cart, and finally transitioning to the Café since it opened nearly a decade ago. Out of all these jobs, Perezʼs favorite was manning the Coffee Cart thanks to the interactions she could have with Mudders. Thereʼs no doubt that Perez is an integral part of the Mudd community and that she embodies the Mudd spirit: she loves espresso, Pho Wednesdays, and a good nap (that is, when she has the time between managing the Café and taking care of her three kids). Something you might not know about Perez is that she has been a huge fan of horror movies since she was little. Her favorite film is “It,” and she has an admirably high tolerance for all things scary and creepy. Without Perez as Café Lead, we would all be a lot more hungry, caffeine-deprived, and devoid of one of the most caring people around. Perez loves meeting people through her work at the Café, so be sure to say hi next time you see her!
Angelica Macias | Hoch Cashier & Events
If youʼve grabbed breakfast or lunch at the Hoch, youʼve probably been greeted by cashier Angelica Macias. Macias is originally from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, but moved to the U.S. when she was 18 years old. She started as a stay-at-home mom, then worked as a noon aide at her kidsʼ schools for 10 years, where she helped take care of students during lunch and recess hours. After Maciasʼ children entered high school, Macias began to work at Mudd as an on-call events staff member (helping to cater and set up special events at Mudd). Three years later, Macias became a full-time cashier at the Hoch. Macias has been at Mudd for 15 years now. These days, Macias works as a cashier and on the events team during the academic year, and in housekeeping over the summer. Outside of work, Macias has a diverse range of interests. She loves reading romance novels and going camping. She also loves to cook; some of her favorite dishes are taquitos and mole! In terms of retirement plans, Macias dreams of traveling, from motorhoming around the U.S. to seeing St. Peterʼs Basilica in Europe. In the meantime, she encourages Mudders to focus on their studies, speak to staff members in Spanish if they know it, and treat staff with kindness and respect.
Ana Linares | Drinkward Dorm Attendant
Any good Drinkward resident knows Ana Linares, one of the dormʼs two attendants. Linares immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador 43 years ago, at the age of 19. Prior to Mudd, Linares worked as a janitorial supervisor in Costa Mesa for 20 years. When Linares began working at Mudd, she would often work the night shift cleaning Keck and Jacobs on Ac End. Once her shift ended, she would go directly to her second job working at a senior center in Montclair. After a few years, Linares became a dorm attendant, working in West, Sontag, Case, and finally Drinkward, where she intends to stay. Linares has been at Mudd for 13 years. Her enthusiasm for Mudd and its students really shines through: “I like working with the students, around the students, with other people, and being friendly. I love to work at Harvey Mudd.” Linares has a lot of love for people around her, especially her family. Linaresʼ favorite pastime is spending time with her grandchildren; she often plays with and goes on walks with them. In terms of family, thereʼs an important milestone coming up soon: Linaresʼ daughter is getting married in a few weeks! While Linares has many exciting moments approaching, she still enjoys spending time at Mudd. Linares really appreciates the Mudd community and intends to work here for as long as she can. We are so grateful to have Linares at Drinkward!
Graciela Alvarez | Drinkward Dorm Attendant
Our other favorite Drinkward dorm attendant is the one and only Graciela Alvarez, who has been at Mudd for an astonishing 30 years now! One of eleven children, Alvarez grew up in Houston, Texas before moving to Los Angeles around the age of 12. Alvarez has had a special affinity for plants since she was little. Ask Alvarez about her garden, and her face will light up. If you can name it, Alvarez can grow it. Her garden consists of a diverse array of plants, including tomatoes, peppers, lemons, oranges, avocados, guavas, limes, sweet limes, and orchids, which draw in droves of butterflies and insects (she was even so kind as to offer to help me with my orchid-growing struggles). Alvarezʼs love for all things green led her to join the Claremont Colleges Grounds Team. At the time, she was the only woman on the Grounds Team. After a few years, the sun damage led Alvarez to switch to housekeeping for Linde. Now, Alvarez has worked in nearly every dorm at Mudd. But for Alvarez, the job never gets old. Like Linares, Alvarez intends to work at Mudd for as long as she can. She loves spending time with people at Mudd, saying, “I think about what I will do when I retire. Well, what am I going to do? Iʼm going to come and see everyone here.”
Lance Wallace | Special Projects
Most residents of Mudd can spot Wallace riding around on his golf cart or working in one of the Res End buildings. While originally from Jamaica, Wallace has lived in the LA area for the past 43 years. Before coming to Mudd, Wallace worked as a machine operator in a paper company, then in special projects for Upland City. Wallace has now been at Mudd for 10 years. Outside of work, Wallace has a passion for reading and enjoys a range of genres including religion, self-help, and philosophy. He even has a mini-library in his study at home! Wallace especially loves reciting and analyzing quotes, one of his favorites being: “Yesterday is gone forever, tomorrow will never come, today is yesterdayʼs tomorrow within reach.” Another one of Wallaceʼs interests lies in stocks. Wallace took an accounting class during the 2008 recession, which fostered his interest in the stock market. Additionally, Wallace loves the idea of being in business. While working at the paper company, Wallace would spend his free time house-flipping (buying houses, improving them, then reselling). While his real estate hobby is temporarily on hold, he hopes to one day resume house-flipping with his brother. As advice for Mudders, Wallace would like to share another one of his favorite quotes: “There is no limitation to the mind, except those you give it.”
To all Mudd staff, we are so grateful to have you as part of our community. A special thank you to Suzette, Virdiana, Angelica, Ana, Graciela, and Lance for being part of this article.