Carlos Fonseca Jr. is a 2021 graduate from Klamath Falls, Oregon. He is a double major in Exercise Science and Physical Education Teacher Education. Carlos is also an award winner from WOU’s Leadership Recognition Month, where he was given a Distinguished Student Leader award, the Arbor Park and Barnum Resident Assistant of the Year award, and was recognized as an Incidental Fee Committee member.
What has your experience been like as a first-generation student?
I am a first-generation student. Navigating imposter syndrome has been one of the most challenging aspects of being a first-gen student, but I’ve thankfully had great people and support systems around me–namely the Student Enrichment Program (SEP). SEP made my transition to college much easier, and they have provided me with resources all the way into my last term.
What has been your most memorable class?
My most memorable class has to be my very first class I had: Social Problems with Dr. Braa. Anybody who’s had Dr. Braa knows how passionate he is, and the first day in class was a real “Welcome to College” moment. Dr. Braa really opened my eyes to a lot of issues going on in the world, and it was the start of me recognizing a lot of systems in place that are harming people with marginalized identities.
What has been your favorite annual event at WOU?
For me, nothing beats the Holiday Tree Lighting. I’m not a fan of the cold, but seeing so many people come together, drinking some cocoa or hot apple cider, and watching the parade followed by the tree lighting up after the countdown is one of those events that I always made sure to attend and take in every moment.
What have some of your extracurriculars been? How did those impact your time on campus?
Everybody who knows me knows that I’m an RA and that I love the work I do. Living in the halls and building community is what college is all about. Along with this job, I’ve been involved with a few clubs–namely [the] Multicultural Student Union (MSU). MSU provided so many opportunities to make connections with other students, primarily students of color.
What has been the highlight of your time at WOU?
The highlight for me during my time at WOU has been working within University Housing. All of my closest friendships made in college have formed from my time as an RA. The communities and staff that I’ve been a part of have truly made my experience the most fulfilling.
Who stands out from your time at WOU and why?
My supervisor, turned mentor, then good friend JoeHahn has easily been the most impactful person for me during my time at WOU. They challenged me to be a better student, professional, and person. Their guidance opened my eyes to the world of student affairs, and they were the one who inspired me to pursue a career in student affairs. I truly would not be the person that I am today without them and the impact they made on my life.
Another person I’d like to acknowledge is my academic advisor, Dr. Gay Timken. From my first interaction with her, I knew that she was somebody who meant business, would challenge me, and also be the biggest support. Her passion for teaching and helping students is unrivaled. Dr. Timken, along with the other Exercise Science faculty, has cultivated a curriculum that truly will produce the best of the best professionals.
What was your most visited spot on campus? Why?
I would say my most visited spot on campus is Monmouth Ave. From the start of campus at the Welcome Sign by the Science Building to the WUC is my favorite part of campus. Seeing people walk to and from class, all of the beautiful flowers bloomed, the leaves falling from trees, all of WOU’s beauty is on display right there. It’s also very nostalgic for me, as that part of campus was the first part of campus I saw when first visiting WOU.