Andres Rivera ’17 gives back to community working with college students
Hometown: Santa Ana, CA
Currently Residing in: San Diego, CA
Occupation: STEM Retention Specialist, University of San Diego Student Support Services (SSS) Program
Education: B.S. Computer Science & Mathematics, University of San Diego
What is the most challenging part of your work? Juggling my responsibilities such as handling a caseload of 80+ students, co-supervising the program’s peer tutoring service, updating the program’s official website, and managing our participation tracking system and the in-house library has probably been the most challenging part of my job.
What’s the most rewarding part of your work? Seeing the relief on the students’ faces after addressing their concerns/questions is the most rewarding part of my job, especially if we can get the issue resolved. That relief tells me that I am making at least a small difference in their lives at USD.
How has your experience at CRMS influenced what you are doing now? I decided to be a STEM Retention Specialist because I believe in the principle of serving/giving back to my community, and I wanted to serve the SSS community that assisted me during my undergraduate career at USD. When I look back at my life, I began to truly value and believe in this principle during my time at CRMS. Whether I was working in the kitchen, helping in the garden, doing some construction/ deconstruction work on campus, or fixing up some bikes in the bike shop, I enjoyed feeling like I made at least a small impact on the community. The same CRMS community that overwhelmingly supported me when I had to undergo two open-heart surgeries, one year apart from each other. I am forever grateful for the what community has done for me. I hope to one day be able to give students the same support that I received from CRMS and now from SSS as well.
What advice would you give current CRMS students? When you find yourself overwhelmed by life’s complications, remember that you do not have to suffer in silence. If you know someone you trust who has expressed genuine concern for you and your well-being, find the courage to seek them out and ask if they can lend an ear. They may not be able to solve your problems, but they can at least be someone to hear you and acknowledge your grievances.