First of all, congratulations on winning the city of Arlington’s 2021 College Essay Contest for its Martin Luther King Jr. “Advancing the Dream” celebration.
Thank you! The Office of Multicultural Affairs has been really big in my development here at UTA. One of the staff there encouraged me to enter, mentioning some of the service projects I had already done and how I could talk about those. Advancing the dream, to me, is about advancing the community. You have to take the steps to develop your own community and be accountable by working and putting in effort through activities like community service.
Why is community service important to you?
I didn’t grow up with much. I went to homeless shelters for food, clothes, blankets, and things like that. One thing that really made me feel good was when someone cared enough to look out for us in any type of way. I wouldn’t be at the place where I am if it weren’t for the people who looked out for me.
You chose to major in business marketing, which seems like a surprising route for someone so committed to service. Why was that the right fit for you?
I want to go into higher education and help guide leadership development for students, so I was looking for a major that would benefit me in higher education while exposing me to different opportunities for development. Marketing is a good balance between learning how to reach out to people and how to market organizations, and I knew it would equip me with skills I could pull from going into grad school.
You’ve also dedicated yourself to leadership and involvement as Mr. UTA and through membership in many different programs. What does leadership mean to you?
For me, leadership revolves around service. The greatest leaders in the world were servants to the people. If you truly want to be a great leader, you’re not in the front or the back, you’re where you need to be. You should be leading for what your team needs.
You’re also a social justice peer educator. What has that experience been like for you?
As a social justice peer educator, I go to classrooms and talk about things society normally doesn’t openly talk about, like microaggressions, stereotypes, and biases. The conversations aren’t always comfortable. It’s definitely not a thing where everyone always agrees with what I have to say, but learning how to navigate those situations has been invaluable. I don’t always love those conversations, but I always see the benefit of them—and programs like this make UTA a better place.