All of the professors, activities, and experiences I have had—thanks to the University—have definitely guided me onto the path that I am on today and have helped me to grow into the man I want to be.
Eric Salgado ’14
Hometown: East Haven, Conn.
Program: Spanish / Individually Designed Major in Latin American Studies
Honors: Martin Luther King, Jr. Vision Award, Christopher B. Love Award, Victor Leeber Scholarship
I choose Fairfield for a few reasons. Primarily, I was really impressed with the academic rigor and reputation the university has not only statewide, but also in the Northeast. I was also really seeking to develop my faith deeper, and I thought where better to do so than at my university whose Jesuit tradition clearly inspires everything that it stands for.
How did you come to be interested in Latin American Studies?
My father is actually from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. When I was younger he would try so hard to teach me Spanish, to my dismay. It got to the point that I developed a fundamental antipathy toward the language and culture. Once I got to middle school and was able to explore Spanish and the Latin American culture on my own terms, I really began to develop a passion for the material. I came to Fairfield deciding I would minor in Latin American studies, but upon taking a Modern Latin American History course, I decided that I would not be satiated with only a minor and so with the help of my advisors, I developed my own major.
How has your Fairfield experience been?
The word that immediately comes to mind when I think of this question is fruitful. My Fairfield experience has been invaluable to me. All of the professors, activities, and experiences I have had—thanks to the University—have definitely guided me onto the path that I am on today and have helped me to grow into the man I want to be.
I am so close to many different faculty members. One of my biggest mentors however has been Dr. Michelle Leigh Farrell of the Modern Language Department. I have had the distinct honor of working with her for three semesters, and she has taught me not only Spanish, but Brazilian Portuguese as well. Her passion and drive in the classroom is enough to awaken and inspire the most disinterested of students. She serves as a model not only to me, but to every other student who she reaches. She has a brilliant mind and an even more inspiring personality. (If I may, I’d like to send a shout-out to Drs. Gisela Gil-Egui, Janie Leatherman, Dina Franceschi, Terry-Ann Jones, Ryan Drake, Joy Gordon, Edrik Lopez, Gale Bellas)
What have you been involved in at Fairfield?
I have been involved in so much at the University, mainly two service trips to Quito, Ecuador (one of which I served as a student leader). I became a Eucharistic Minister and actually just led the Spring retreat. I have worked with the Office of Admissions since freshman year, serving as a tour ambassador, and this year as a senior interviewer. In addition, I’ve worked with the Office of Service Learning as a service learning associate.
I also studied abroad in Managua, Nicaragua, and over spring break traveled to Havana, Cuba, to conduct research for my final project in Latin American Studies.
What are your plans after graduation?
I was just recently accepted to Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service for their master’s in Latin American Studies program, and so I plan to continue my studies and will hopefully have the opportunity to work with a think tank in Washington, DC, that focuses on issues of human rights and social justice in the region.
What have you learned at Fairfield that you think you’ll take with you after you graduate?
I think one of the most important lessons I have learned at Fairfield is that I am accountable for everything. I could have come to Fairfield and went without anyone even knowing my name. I could have passed up opportunities for growth and development that have proven to be invaluable to me. Instead I took 100% possession of my education and what a Jesuit education can offer, and seized every single moment. I have learned that life will continue to be this way. If you want something, you have to work for it and earn it. Fairfield has given me the tools to do this!
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