Student Spotlight: Armando Figueroa, Higher Education and Student Affairs Graduate Student
Steinhardt has definitely helped cater to my specific needs and my goals and I think the number one way that they did that was helping me create new goals I didn’t even know were possible before I entered the program. Steinhardt and NYU in general have this great global mission where they really want students to not only have cross-cultural experiences, but they want students to be able to embrace another culture or embrace another cultural perspective. And what’s really great about that is that I’ve been exposed to so many different concepts that I didn’t have in undergraduate, or even growing up in Los Angeles. I got to do a lot of great work over in Los Angeles and even in Norther California around promoting college learning culture to underrepresented student groups, working with nonprofits, even working within public school systems to really make sure students have the resources to apply to college. But I think now, at NYU, I get the great opportunity to work in admissions. And now I get the perspective of a prestigious institution. Outside of my work at Admissions and being able to work with GSO as their President, I also have another role at the Office of Student Affairs here at Steinhardt. I’m actually the MLK Scholar’s Graduate Assistant. So more personally, I think that my mission to do a lot of this outreach and do a lot of this work really comes from my own personal story of growing up in L.A., going to a high school where I saw a lot of violence and I saw a lot of my friends get in trouble with the law, or enlist in the Marines because they didn’t see college as an opportunity. I knew around 11th or 12th grade, I just needed to get out of my neighborhood. Although I love L.A. and my heart will always be there, I just know I needed the exposure to get out, even go upstate to Northern California to go to college and get that experience and grow independent and become exposed to just a lot of different perspectives. My mother was nothing but supportive in that, and my mom came here from Mexico and immigrated. And although she didn’t have a lot of the culture capital, she didn’t know the language, she didn’t know a lot of the different cultural institutions to support a student going to college, she did all that she could. And that really reminded me that it really only takes one person to institute and really formalize a student’s ambitions to get out and go see the world.