The Class of 2023 has officially graduated and is ready to use their UIndy education for service to their communities. Meet first-generation college graduate Dylan Torres, who recently received his Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education and English with a minor in Spanish!
Why did you choose to study secondary education and English?
I want to be able to give back to my community in the ways that it supported me throughout my early life. I found that the best way for me to return the favor and push it forward is to become a lifelong educator.
Why did you choose to study at UIndy?
I chose UIndy because I wanted to remain rooted in the legacy of my local community. When people think of Indiana, and particularly the city of Indianapolis, they automatically think of UIndy. By attending this school, I have become and remain cemented as a central and important part of the history, culture, and memory of my home state, no matter how far I may travel or go.
Are you a part of any extracurriculars on or off campus?
During my time on campus, I was very involved in a plethora of extracurriculars. Some of the these activities include GLO (Global Language Organization) as President, AE (Aspiring Educators) as Membership Coordinator, the Bridge Scholar Program as a mentor, and much more.
Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?
Yes! Absolutely! Some of the most critical relationships I have constructed and fostered on campus were with faculty and staff at UIndy.
Somebody that helped me find my way was Ms. Brenda Bassi, the Bridge Scholars Coordinator. Her role as a mentor and guide was pivotal during my time here at the university, and I wish to commend her for her diligence and commitment to myself and others. She has a lovely spirit and is always a joy to just chat with!
Another significant person is Dr. Ana Maria Ferreira. She is a professor in the world languages faculty, and a key teacher with whom I have developed a lifelong friendship and mentorship with. She is a talented professor who always knows the right thing to say when asked for advice, and her jaunty personality makes for an inviting, fun learning experience both at cultural events and in the classroom.
A third important professor at the university I have connected with is Professor Kate Reinhardt. Her expertise and role as a professor and educational resource were crucial for my success at UIndy. She has a very down-to-Earth personality also makes the learning experiences and important life lessons she has taught us more relatable and lasting, beyond the essential components of the course curricula.
A fourth outstanding professor that I have made connections with is Dr. Leah Milne. As a stellar English Literature professor who specializes in concentrated, minority literature studies (Women’s lit, Postcolonial studies, etc.), she has been an indispensable asset in my growth as an English major. Whether it be through my skills as an analyst, writer, researcher, or overall scholar, her feedback has been paramount to helping me me a more well-developed and well-rounded teacher and expert. Her teaching style is flexible and feedback-focused, which makes her an excellent and welcoming professor worthy of being mentioned.
Last but not least, I want to include Dr. Jessica Bannon on my list of influential professors. She was influential to me by being a reliable and dependable individual in my community on campus as a leader, mentor, teacher, and professional college “mom,” or, as my cohort says, “English department aunt.” She always sets aside the time to make class accessible and feasible for our success no matter the extenuating circumstance. She is someone that anyone can talk to about concerns they might have, and is someone who will actively work to help you find a solution to your issues and stresses. Dr. Bannon wears many hats, but her persistence has inspired me to carry the mantle in my own classrooms as she did for me and others.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy?
One of my favorite memories was an event that was held as part of the Aspiring Educators club. As board members, we coordinated a Thanksgiving / Birthday celebration event for those in the club. We gathered at the home of the one of the board member’s and spent all night playing games, chatting, eating, and having a merry time. We laughed irreverently into the long, chilly night, making that event one for the books!
What are your plans after graduation?
I am still on the hunt for a local teaching opportunity, but I plan to return to higher education to be able to amplify my capabilities in the classroom. I wish to be able to obtain a specialized degree for instructing English Learners, as well as transform my Spanish minor into a master’s. Hopefully, I can use those skillsets to better serve my future students….and travel the world!
How did your degree program prepare you for your next steps?
Aside from permitting me to teach, my degree program helped to instill a greater sense of humility and perspective in my heart for those in my community. You don’t always realize how you play a role in the lives of those around you, but this degree program will help you to be more cognizant of the problems plaguing our world and the change you can make towards rectifying them.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen?
As an incoming freshman, remember that the journey ahead is a long and arduous one. Even though the days will be long and the nights even more so, the steps you take now will mark the beginning of a larger, lifelong adventure. And yes — this is a journey, and a journey worth taking. Try to remember the reasons why you chose to pursue a college career in the first place because sometimes you will question your life decisions, but that is the natural course of things.
That being said, never doubt yourself, and always seek assistance anywhere you can. There is always a solution for those willing to look for it.