My name is AJ Marroquin. I’m a junior at UTSA with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. I’m also a first-generation student. Here at UTSA, I’ve found groups of people that have matched and encouraged development in my personality and allowed me to explore various interests related to my identity and professional and academic goals. Currently, I’m participating in a Mellon research program focusing on Chicana feminist criticisms in literature, connecting to my broader interest in looking at issues of gender and sexuality in texts and how they reflect societal changes. I hope that while attending grad school, I can highlight the narratives of marginalized groups in my research by focusing on identities like Chicanxs, women of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

A successful mentee meeting includes working with the mentee to focus on their classes and concerns regarding coursework and professors, encouraging them to attend campus events and get involved in organizations that matched their interests, giving them tips for how to interact with their classmates and get to know the UTSA family. The same mentees who had little to say at our first meeting now drive the whole thing, telling me stories about study groups with their friends, their activities around campus, and general enjoyment of their time as college students. It makes me so proud to know that I saw this transformation happen and was able to help nudge it along when needed. For me, that’s the most fulfilling part of being a mentor because it encourages me to do the same.