Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
Gay, Jewish and Costa Rican. Gregarious, ambitious, loving, and full of heart. Yes, I’m the eternal optimist who values integrity, humour, teaching and learning. Friends and family know me for my award winning smile and positive attitude.
Why did you choose New College (be honest) and what were your expectations?
Funnily enough, New College was my third choice. But life has a weird, if at times mysterious, way of working out. I had no expectations when I moved into residence in the fall of my first year because the University, as well as the city, were new experiences for me. However, I had a feeling that I was going to meet great people, challenge myself, screw up – but learn from those experiences – and most important of all, make friends that last a life-time. I also wanted to figure out why those older than me always said, “enjoy your undergraduate days, because they will be the best of your life.” I still have a full life ahead of me, but boy were they right!
What are some of your most memorable moments from your time as President of NCSC?
The wonderful thing about having served two terms as President was that I have two terms worth of stories to share. The memory that I shall share here occurred when I was Chairing a Council meeting, as the Speaker, who normally Chairs such meetings, couldn’t make it that day.
I don’t remember what we were discussing, but there was one council member who became so spirited and passionate about his point, to the degree that we couldn’t continue our meeting, I ruled him “out of order”. In effect, it meant that the council member had to stop arguing his point. Swiftly, he responded by “Challenging the Speaker”, which requires a 2/3 vote of council members to uphold or strike down, which he did to cancel my request to rule him “out of order”. Council voted, and a 2/3 majority agreed to strike down the Council member’s objection to my ruling as Speaker, meaning that my ruling – which had ruled the council member out of order – was accepted.
I maintain that this was a memorable experience because until that meeting, the Speaker had never been challenged before. Much less a President of council, standing-in for the speaker. It was both a humbling and exhilarating experience, and I learned a valuable lesson: in an argument, you must stand your ground, but if you’re going to do so, make sure the ground is solid!
How did your academic and social experience at the University/College prepare you for life and your career?
Going to University created a well of life experience from which I continue to draw upon. I learned a lot about myself, other people and the world around me. I learned about making, keeping and sometimes losing friends. I learned the value of “planning ahead” and the perils of not being honest with yourself. I learned how important it is to recognize your skills, acknowledge your failures, learn from your mistakes, but perhaps most important of all, the joys of taking yourself out of your comfort zone and surviving – and growing stronger because of – the experience.