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Student Spotlight: Emilio Silerio Gonzalez

September 28, 2022 - Jesús Hernandez and Beth Brauer

Emilio Silerio Gonzalez is a current first-year student at James Madison College. 

Why did you choose Michigan State and, specifically, why James Madison?

I chose Michigan State partly because it was one of my local options. More importantly, I chose James Madison because I liked the idea of small classroom discussions. I was also interested in the policy-oriented curriculum that JMC offers.

Three words to describe your first month as a student at MSU? Why?

Three words to describe my month at MSU so far would be “busy,” “eye-opening,” and “engaging.” I have kept quite a busy schedule with RSO (Registered Student Organization) tasks, homework, studying, and other responsibilities. The experience so far has been quite eye-opening; I have met so many different people, and have reflected on my privilege heavily. The curriculum at JMC has been very engaging as well, I really appreciate the small classroom discussions and the topics we cover.

Favorite class so far and why?

That would be MC 111. The section I am in is titled “Nature, Culture and Science in the Anthropocene.” We have constant peer-editing sessions that have helped me develop as a writer. The class is almost two hours long, but it does not feel like it. I attribute my engagement to the class discussions we have — both in small and large groups. I also seriously appreciate the professor, Daniel Ahlquist. 

Which RSOs do you plan to join, or have you joined and why?

I plan to attend a couple of volunteer opportunities. I am also a board member of the RSO Latino Leaders in Policy; we have panels with government and policy officials and provide information for scholarships, internships, job opportunities, and more. I was slightly anxious going into freshman year with commitments before even stepping into class, but my peers have been supportive, and I think I have managed quite well.

Have you used any Latino/Hispanic campus resources and, if so, what was your experience like?

I have connected with various Latinx staff around campus, but the only campus resource I have used is the Migrant Student Services in Holden Hall. I went to get more information about a study abroad opportunity and was helped tremendously by Patricia Joly, associate director of international initiatives.

Why is Hispanic Heritage Month important? How have you recognized it in the past?

It is important to celebrate your culture. My family and I celebrate Mexican Independence Day every year, September 16th with a feast; it also happens to be one day into Hispanic Heritage Month.