After driving 22 hours from Tijuana, Mexico, René Galindo has moved into his new home in UW Bothell’s Husky Village. “I am very excited to be here,” he said with a large grin. Just a few months ago, Galindo was completing his M.A. in Postsecondary Educational Leadership with a specialization in student affairs. Now, Galindo is UW Bothell’s newest Resident Director and he excited to make an impact on campus.
When he was 15 years old, Galindo’s parents decided to take advantage of their dual citizenship and move the family from Tijuana to San Diego. They were determined to give their children a better future. “In Mexico, you can be the hardest worker and still not get anywhere,” says Galindo. “In America, if you work hard, you can accomplish anything.” For years, Galindo, the eldest of three sons, has watched his parents put in that hard work with 14-hour long days. He’s also listened to his dad’s reminders that education is the answer to a better life.
However, Galindo struggled academically in high school, “I was failing all of my classes and didn’t know what I was doing with my life.” He reached out to one of his high school counselors, who encouraged him to prepare academically for college. Having a goal motivated Galindo to improve his grades. He managed to persevere through the uncertainty he faced, and with the encouragement from those around him, eventually enrolled at San Diego State University, becoming the first one in his family to pursue higher education.
During his first year as a college student, the majority of Galindo’s peers stopped attending classes. “I began to ask myself, why is everyone dropping out? That was what first thing that spiked my interest in student affairs.”
Two years later, Galindo accepted a job as a high school coordinator. He and his co-workers set up programs that they hoped would inspire lower income teens to pursue college. “I saw the impact I was making on students, and wanted to continue helping people,” he said.
Today, Galindo is brainstorming new programs that will help first generation and other students at the University of Washington Bothell. He is aware that students face many challenges during their time at college, “One of the most critical problems that new students may face is not having someone to tell them where to go: ‘How do I get to class?’ ‘How can I take advantage of my financial aid?’” Galindo hopes that by being there to answer these questions, he can take some stress off students.
Although Galindo will miss his father and mother, who are now living in Mexico, he is excited to join UW Bothell’s diverse community. His first advice to all students is to “explore resources and share your experiences with others, because you never know when you might be helping someone without even realizing it.”