Facts about your family:
I am an only child. I am very, very close to my parents: Beatriz and Israel. They are, in my eyes and will always be, the two most hardworking individuals and my best friends. I attribute my successes to them. You can find me speaking to them three times a day and spending as much time as we can together when I am home during winter break and the summer time.
My parents and I emigrated from Uruguay when I was 13 and we currently live in Alexandria, Virginia. Most of my extended family is in Uruguay, but I also have a very special part of my family in The Woodlands, Texas, so the Houston area is my home away from home.
Why did you choose to attend The University of Texas at Austin?
As an out of state student, that is the BIG question. “Why UT…why TEXAS?” It’s hard to explain fully in words. In high school my “plan” was to be a commuter student, living at home, going to school within 10 miles. Being as close as I am to my family, leaving home was never part of the plan. Until… A conversation in New York City when my family from The Woodlands were visiting up north, encouraged me to look into The University of Texas at Austin. If anywhere, Texas would be the only state I would move to, I always thought, but never imagined I would actually pursue that idea. Aside from looking for a school close to home, I was, most important, looking for a university with a diverse student body that would also have a strong academic program in my field of study. I visited campus with my aunt and I immediately felt the sense of community on campus, its diversity and access to a wide range of opportunities. Today an idea that seemed too far to reach (attending UT) is a reality–although I walk around campus and I almost have to pinch myself because sometimes I still can’t believe I am here. I don’t regret for even a moment coming to UT. It was by far one of the best decisions I have made. It is where I am growing, it is my HOME…and no matter where I go, I never miss the chance to tell others how proud I am of being a Longhorn!
What do you want to do when you graduate from the university?
The more I am in school, the more I learn about myself, the more I learn about others–the more I think about what would answer this question. I am strongly considering attending graduate school–whether it be law school or pursuing a degree in public policy. Immediately upon graduation, however, I would love to be a Teach for America corps member to pursue my passion toward teaching and education. However, I also have a strong passion toward immigration–which has been one of my biggest inspirations to attend law school and practice in this field.
I am keeping an open mind and exploring the different opportunities. Perhaps later on in life I may follow a career in public policy or academia. I still don’t seem to have a specific answer to this question. It is all about following my passion and I am still on the path to discovering what I am truly passionate about. My very long-term goal is to one day establish a scholarship program to support students pursuing a college education (the same way many have done for me).
If you had to choose one thing about yourself to share with the university’s Web audience, what would it be?
I am truly passionate about everything that I decide to take part in. I am passionate about helping people, helping them realize their potential, and hopefully making a difference in their lives. If someone needs help, whether they asked or imply they do, you can be sure I will jump in to help.
Who are your heroes?
Papá y mamá–my parents–absolutely no question about it.
But I do have to say that there are three groups of individuals who have played important roles throughout my educational career that today, I consider my heroes, because also if it wasn’t for them, I would not be at The University of Texas at Austin, pursuing my college dream:
- Bernard and Audre Rapoport–without their support toward my college education I truthfully would not have been able to return to The University of Texas at Austin after my freshman year due to financial difficulties.
- The Texas Interdisciplinary Plan–without them, I probably would not have been able to make it through my first year at UT. They immediately became (and still are) my home and my family at school.
- The Hispanic College Fund–without their support not only toward my education but as a “familia,” I would not have developed into the individual I am today. They set me on this path and continue to support me, unconditionally.
If you could travel to one spot anywhere in the world, where would you want to visit?
That’s a tough one, but the region at the top of my list is West Africa. Greece is also high on the list.
What are your current favorite books? What books would you recommend to someone you just met?
Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist,” “By the River Piedra I sat down and Wept” also by Paulo Coelho, and “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow.
What pushes your buttons? What are your pet peeves?
Apathy, apathy among people–regardless of what they are apathetic about–frustrates me. People who don’t keep busy, people that don’t take action. Lack of involvement–there has to be something you like, something you are passionate about, follow it, get involved, take action–don’t wait for something to happen, make it happen! Aside from that, clutter, messiness, lack of organization and I are not compatible.
What are your favorite Web sites? Why?
- Gmail–I have to admit I probably have an addiction to checking e-mail, reading e-mail, answering e-mail, and anything that relates to E-MAIL!
- Any Web site pertaining to scholarships will most likely have a spot on my bookmarks list.
- And, of course, Longhorn Confidential.
What are your favorite foods?
I love food (I’ve always been picky with certain types of food, so now I challenge myself and try all different kinds), so it is tough, but nothing tops the following:
- My mom’s “Milanesas” (Uruguayan-style chicken-fried steak)
- My mom’s “Cannelloni”
- My dad’s “Asado” (Barbecue)
- My parents’ (yes–they work on this one together!) homemade pasta with homemade meat sauce (follows our partially Italian heritage)
- My grandma’s home made French fries (trust me, you would fall in love with them, too, although they are probably the most unhealthy food you can have)
- My aunt’s lasagna (and my mom knows this, no other lasagna comes close to hers)
Among the favorites are also: Any type of pasta, anywhere, anytime, and our own Austin’s Madam Mam’s Pad Sea-ew with Chicken (to the point I crave it when I am away from school).
What music are you listening to?
If you were to look at my music library, you would find that The Beatles, Coldplay and country music (I am a big fan) dominate the library. Having said so, I am listening to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” will probably shift to The Beatles soon after this question, and will probably be listening to Rascal Flatts by the end of this entry. (This will probably apply for any of my blog entries, so you will never go wrong if you guess I am listening to any of the aforementioned.) But, you can also find Juanes, Julieta Venegas, some Rock en Espanol from Uruguay and Argentina, and Mana on my playlist, too!
What are your all-time favorite movies? Why?
My friends can tell you how bad I am with remembering actors and how I have not watched enough movies in my 19 years of life! So my all-time favorite movies really are in fact special.
“The Pursuit of Happyness”–the message and the story, many aspects of it, are something that I found a strong connection with.
“Rent”–again, because of the message it leaves–or that it at least left in me–and the stories portrayed in the movie are realities faced by many, realities that should not be ignored.
“Remember the Titans”–the movie was based on my high school and it is also heavy in terms of its historical context.
(Now, if you want to hear about my favorite chick flicks…”Love Actually,” “Fools Rush In” and “The Notebook” are at the top of the list.)
Who are your favorite artists?
Art: Joaquin Torres Garcia, Van Gogh, Diego Rivera
Actors: Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Kate Hudson, Katherine Heigl
Music: It’s a tough one to answer, but Coldplay, The Beatles, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Julieta Venegas, Mana, Goo Goo Dolls, Il Divo, Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, John Mayer, Juanes, Ricardo Arjona and Sugarland are among my favorites.
What are your favorite academic subjects? What are you interested in studying in the future?
Government–all of the courses I have taken in this subject I have absolutely loved (which is a good sign, after all, it is my major!)
In the future, I hope to study law but I would also love to tie studies in the legal field with a strong passion I have toward the education field. So although they may sound completely unrelated, I am interested in studying both law and education!
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Another tough question. I love the South Mall/Main Mall area for a few reasons:
- It is where I spend most of my time in class in the Liberal Arts buildings.
- By sitting or walking by the South Mall you can see the diversity of our student body hanging out on the lawn.
- I also love the view from the Main Mall/South Mall toward both the Tower and the State Capitol.
The Main Mall also holds a special place in my heart–where I had my “Gone to Texas” Welcome event experience as a freshman (occurs annually)–where I realized how special this school was becoming to me, sitting with one of my very first friends at UT who later became both my roommate and one of my closest friends to today.
In addition to the South Mall/Main Mall area, I am a huge fan of the fountains around campus–especially the one in the East Mall by the Martin Luther King Jr. Statue. I love walking by it–the sound, the strength of the water and how refreshing it is to just stand by it (it is tempting to jump in!).
Where are your favorite places to go in Austin? What are your favorite things to do in Austin?
I wish I would take more time to just walk up and down South Congress Avenue! Walking around downtown with friends, the Trail of Lights in December, canoeing at Zilker Park, and Mozart’s Coffee at Lake Austin are among my favorite. However, I am still exploring Austin and I know the list will grow, and I hope to share my new adventures around Austin with you, through my blogs, so stay tuned.
What are your favorite free-time activities?
Community service and spending some good quality time with my close group of friends–regardless of what we do–are definitely among my favorite free-time activities.
Other interesting facts about you:
- I was born in Montevideo, Uruguay
- I am the first in my family to go to college
- I am, of course, a native, fluent Spanish speaker
- At home and with my parents, I only speak Spanish
- I repeat, I am extremely close to my parents
- I graduated from T.C. Williams High School (”Remember the Titans,” anyone?)
- I don’t eat fruits (Being fruit-phobic would be a good way to describe this) ever since I was five years old
- I still don’t know how to swim
- I learned how to ride a bike when I was 12 (and was taught by 7-year-old)
- I have met President George W. Bush
- I had never been to a football game (yes, not even in high school and therefore had no clue what it was all about) until I came to UT (and now I love it to the point that I bought season tickets this year)
- I keep any piece of souvenirs/memorabilia I can from anything I attend
- I can’t fold my tongue into a U shape
- I am a big fan of eating mayo with French fries (which my friends are disgusted by)
- I don’t know how to drive
- I have never watched “Titanic”
- I had plastic surgery in my upper lip when I was seven (after a dog scratched me, and I was awake during the procedure)
- I am a big fan of collecting quotes–whether I hear them or read them, I will always write them down if I think they are really good.
- I have lived on campus in the same Residence Hall (Jester West) in the same room since my freshman year!