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Pablo "Paul" Hernandez

Hernandez, Paul

Paul Hernandez, PhD, earned his doctorate in Sociology specializing in the sociology of education, social inequality, and diversity. Dr. Hernandez is a nationally recognized speaker and leader in college access and success, community outreach, and pedagogy for educators working with underserved/underprepared students and students at risk of dropping out of school. As a former faculty member, non-profit administrator and educational consultant, Dr. Hernandez works with higher education institutions, K-12 schools, and non-profit organizations helping them further develop and evolve their work with students and communities. Prior to earning his degrees, he was engulfed in gang culture and deep poverty, surviving on the streets of Los Angeles. Paul openly shares with others his unique personal story of being a youth at risk and how his path has influenced his work. He has learned ways to empower young people traveling a similar path, and through his inspirational messages hopes to share his lessons and passion with those working to address the multitude of challenges faced by diverse populations of youth at risk. Dr. Hernandez has been nationally recognized for his work and was awarded the National Education Association Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award, the Michigan Education Association Elizabeth Siddall Human Rights Award, the Equity in Education award by the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and an Honors Professor of the Year Award for teaching.

Areas of expertise
  • At-risk Students
  • Equity and diversity


  • Overcoming the Impossible: This motivational keynote shares Paul Hernandez’s personal story and testimony to the challenges he, like many other youth, faced growing up and how he overcame adversity. Paul shares how he used education as a source of empowerment to transform his life. The purpose of this keynote is to inspire and motivate the audience while providing an opportunity to answer any questions audience members ask. The keynote is targeted to diverse audiences including higher education, K–12 education, and non-profit organizations.
  • Pedagogy of Real Talk: Flexible enough to be modified and abbreviated into a single workshop, this series of workshops focuses on the pedagogical approach created by Paul Hernandez. Paul shares the foundations of his alternative pedagogy and informs others of the usable, modifiable components and tools to strengthen relationships with students. It can be used with higher education, K–12 education, and non-profit organizations.
  • The Social Construction of a Monster: This workshop focuses on introducing people to diversity and how to effectively work with diverse groups. Through a unique approach using the American Pit Bull Terrier, the topic of diversity is discussed and highlighted in a safe, comfortable manner. The workshop can be used broadly or tailored to particular groups. The workshop has been delivered to professionals who work with students, professionals and their colleagues surrounding issues of diversity, and with groups of college students.