With grad school on the horizon, Cynthia Olivares, from King City, is just cooling down from a busy and wild undergraduate career that involved student government, Green Dot, planning events and discovering her potential for leadership. We chatted with Olivares all about her time at WOU.
What was your Major?
Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Education, Humanities, and Social Science.
Why did you choose WOU?
There are two main attractions that drew me to WOU. The first one was how welcoming and friendly everyone was here. I also loved the diversity and pride taken on being a diverse campus. While being away from my family for the first time, I wanted to feel like I was at home, and WOU really did that for me.
What do you love most about WOU?
What I love most about WOU is the sense of community and diversity there is on campus. WOU strives to accommodate and provide resources for first generation, underrepresented, and marginalized communities and that is what has helped me remain in college and graduate.
What do you love most about the major/minors you completed?
I am graduating with an Interdisciplinary Studies major with a focus in Education, Humanities, and Social Science. What I love most about my major is being able to explore different subject areas. I loved to have the freedom to choose from various focus areas to be able to enhance my knowledge not only in one subject, but many. This major also really helped me figure out what I wanted to achieve after graduation.
Outside of classes, what have you been involved in on campus?
I was highly involved on campus during my undergraduate career. Freshman year I participated in Discover Leadership which really opened my doors to many leadership opportunities. After Discover Leadership I was able to apply and be accepted into student government as the director of equity and part of the Oregon Student Association. I was also an exec. member for Greendot Cub on campus. My third year of college I became the vice president of ASWOU fall term and then president winter and spring term. Senior year I took slow and was the vice chair of the Incidental Fee Committee.
What has been your biggest achievement, success or accomplishment in college?
My biggest achievement in college has been being the ASWOU president. I enjoyed my time of activism and being able to represent and speak for my peers around campus. I not only represented the student body on campus but also at the state level while lobbying at the capital, and being a member of the Oregon Student Association.
Has there been a class or professor that has been particularly inspiring to you?
The professor that was inspiring to me was Dr. Christine Harvey-Horning. I had her for the first time fall term of freshman year as my writing professor. Although I was not a fan of writing nor was I good at it, she really helped me grow as a writer and a student. What I really appreciated about her was her taking the time to get to know me during the two times I had class with her. The most memorable experience I have of her was when she reached out to me to see how I was doing after a very good friend of mine passed away.
What are your plans for after graduation?
My plans after graduation are to complete my master’s degree in College Student Service Administration at Oregon State University.
What advice do you have for current and future Wolves?
The advice I have for students is to get involved. There are times where I felt lonely and I just wanted to be back with my family. However, being involved on campus helped me get through that. I have met many wonderful people and have made great connections on and off campus by being involved.
What’s the most important lesson you learned about yourself while in college?
What I learned about myself in college is that with hard work comes great success.
How would you describe your time at ASWOU as president?
My time as ASWOU President was very stressful. This was a position I took on after my best friend Alma Pacheco, who was the president at the time, passed away. It was a position I had to take on unprepared and unexpectedly. I said this then and will continue to say that: I took on this position because it is what Alma would have told me to do. I know that with her guidance I accomplished many great things and continued the exemplary work she started as president.
You’ve got OSU on the horizon. What are you looking forward to the most and what do you hope to gain out of grad school?
I am looking forward to continue some of the social justice work I started with student government and to continue to expand my networking. I hope to gain more skills on different areas of student affairs.
Thanks again, Cynthia!