“What do you want to do with your life, Leó?”
“I’m not sure. I would like to be a professor, an artist, a computer programmer, create new technologies, become an innovator, a poet, a writer, a mentor, an influence, a motivator, and an inspiration. I want to help my community and inspire more students of color to attend college. But I can’t decide on one thing.”
“Why not do it all? Just do it all!”
In high school and early college years, I was led to believe that I had to pick one field of study. I had so many ideas on potential careers that I just didn’t know how to navigate. Don Rothman, a great mentor and friend of mine, encouraged that I do all the things I wanted. So far, I have.
My academic journey begins with the fine arts at the University of California Santa Cruz. I didn’t have one concentration. I focused on photography, drawing, electronics, computer art, digital print making, and combined it all to create an interactive installation that took an academic year to build. Along side of this, I was serving as a resident advisor and a writing assistant. I naturally grew an interest in combining student affairs, higher education, and learning with art to create something new.
My graduate studies at the University of Southern California were intriguing. I wrote a thesis on the gamification of judicial affairs as a way to help educate students about the university policies. I managed to bridge higher education with gaming and have created a streamline of innovative ideas to serve as a supplement to student services. In conjunction to this, my work on students with learning disabilities and providing college access to underserved high school students has become a strong knowledge base of why games can be effective when we focus our attention to teaching and learning.
I have many interests that I combine overtime. I would like to teach learning, writing, creativity, and photography courses, or course, some day. I want to develop a line of college games that will serve as a supplement to existing student services that will help increase student development, retention and community. I plan to continue my career as an artist and pursue an interdisciplinary PhD in education and technology. Doing it all is an uncanny journey. There is no set path to follow, only one to create and build.