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Faces of DePauw

Moises Rivera ’24 Student

My heritage impacts my daily life in almost every way.

Honoring Heritage

My heritage impacts my daily life in almost every way, from the way I interact with people and how I hold myself, to the food I eat, the music I listen to, and the types of dances I like to do. That’s all because of my heritage. And it has also been a way for me to improve as a person.

My family came to the United States from Mexico wishing more for their children than they had for themselves. So, I grew up with the mentality that I needed to go farther in life than my parents. When I came to DePauw, I wanted to become a physical therapist because I enjoyed learning about exercise and I wanted to help people. But as soon as I started taking classes, I realized that STEM really wasn't for me.

I’d heard great things about Professor Castañeda, so I took her Latin American and Caribbean Cultures anthropology course to see what she was all about. In that class, I learned so much about my culture that I never knew about, about things like U.S. involvement in Latin American countries and the impact that leaves on them. That brought out my passion to know and do more. Through my heritage as an immigrant, I relate to people who migrate to the United States in search of something. My goal has become to help those people in any way shape or form, whether it be through food or education, or some other way.

After taking her class, I decided to change my major. I went to Professor Castañeda’s office to ask if she would be my advisor, and from then on she has helped me in many ways to succeed in my classes. I’m still not sure what I want to do after graduation, but Professor Castañeda is always there to help me talk through my next steps.

In a predominantly white institution, seeing someone who looked like me, who spoke like me – it made me realize that I am not alone and I don’t have to do everything myself. She is someone that I truly look up to, and I know she has my back no matter what.

Major: Anthropology
Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Involvement: resident assistant, member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, housing and residence life office intern