Eloy: What college or university did you graduate from, and in what year?
Mario: I graduated from Florida International University, in 1997.
Eloy: What is your degree in?
Mario: I completed a double major in International Relations and Psychology.
Eloy: Have you always been a counselor?
Mario: No, this is actually the first time that I’ve worked as a counselor
Eloy: What made you decide to become one?
Mario: Well, I think my experience at Florida International played a big part in this. While studying there I often sought the advice of an academic counselor. Through this, I learned the important role a counselor can play in the development of a student. It’s a big responsibility, one that I take seriously. Today, because I attended a state university, I find that my own experiences have been extremely valuable in helping me advise students who are making the transition from the Latin American educational system to the U.S. one.
Eloy: So, is that why you chose to work at FSU-Panama?
Mario: No. I was very lucky—FSU-Panama chose me. I applied for the position when it became available, went through the interview process, and was selected. I must have done something right!
Eloy: In what year, then, did you arrive at FSU-Panama?
Mario: I actually started working here toward the end of 2000.
Eloy: Is there something you would change about the FSU-Panama campus?
Mario: No, to be honest. This is a new campus, so we’re actually all part of a growing experience. I think that entails that things will always be changing, little by little. Everything we change will be a direct result of the growth that’s happening at FSU-Panama.
Eloy: What are your hopes for the future of FSU-Panama?
Mario: I hope that we grow every year; I hope that we have more students enroll here, both from Panama as well as from other Latin American countries. I also hope that FSU-Panama can soon begin to offer more majors. The University already is a wonderful place, and I believe that before long everyone will recognize our uniqueness—not only in Panama, but also throughout all of Latin America.
Eloy: Can you share with Panaboarders an anecdote from your time here in FSU-Panama?
Mario: That’s kind of a tough question, Eloy! I think I’ve sort of seen it all in the 2 ½ years that I’ve been here. Nevertheless, I shouldn’t say that because I know that every year something new happens. I’ve witnessed two graduations, and I think that is probably the best experience I’ve had here. It was really heartwarming to see two graduating classes of young students who had the confidence in FSU-Panama to complete their studies here. It was exciting to see them walk up on stage as high-ranking representatives from the main campus in Tallahassee and the Vice-President of the Republic conferred the degrees upon them. The graduation ceremony was very small. As a consequence, everyone knew everyone. I think that’s oneof the things I like most about FSU-Panama: this place is so intimate that when you graduate everyone is a part of the celebration. Everyone knows the graduates, just not only as friends, but as family members as well!
Eloy: Do you have any parting advice you would like to give the students of FSU-Panama?
Mario: Yes. Follow your heart; never let anyone tell you that something you really want to achieve in life can’t be done. I think that’s about the best advice I can give students. I believe that if you feel strongly about accomplishing something, and you are willing to make the sacrifices, you can succeed—no matter who tells you otherwise.
The Editorials on this website are the opinions of the Editors and may not reflect the official policies of FSU-Tallahassee or FSU-Panama. Articles and columns are the expressed views of the authors and may not represent the opinions of the Editors or FSU-Panama.