David  AguayoMU College of Education Student
David Aguayo
Teacher Development Program: Social Studies Education
Social studies student finds ways to get involved both on- and off-campus
David Aguayo is no ordinary social studies education major. He’s also an Education Student Ambassador, the organizer for Columbia’s Teenage Tutoring Program for Hispanic high school students, a researcher for his McNair Scholarship, and has an endless enthusiasm towards the nation’s youth. “In their hands is the potential to create a better society,” says Aguayo, BS Ed ’09.

Aguayo is the fifth of six siblings and transferred to MU as a sophomore after being attracted by campus’ open and welcoming environment. After two years, Aguayo has come to appreciate MU’s academic environment in addition to its social atmosphere.

At only 10-years-old, he and his younger brother immigrated to the United States from Mexico with their parents. After living in the Napa Valley and working to become a legal citizen, he and his family moved to St. Louis. As a first generation college student, Aguayo has found personal benefit in the College of Education’s courses.

“I’ve learned a lot about diversity and childhood and infancy education,” he says, “which all taught me a lot about myself. My parents didn’t know how to well educate me, so these classes have allowed me to figure things out. I’ve really enjoyed these classes because I was able to connect dots of my life.”

In a social studies classroom, Aguayo plans to contribute his diversity, and his experiences as a minority student, and perhaps a minority teacher, too.

“It will allow me to bring up different points of views and will allow me to better relate to the growing population of Hispanic students in schools,” Aguayo says. “I can relate with all students through my first-hand struggles with stereotypes and cultural experiences.”

Anglo students can gain better-grounded knowledge, a context that is based on firsthand knowledge, he explains. And, with minority students, Aguayo hopes to be a role model, someone they can identify with and be motivated by.

“I am proud of who I am,” Aguayo says. “I want students to know that they can be authentic to their upbringings and to their new culture.”

Aguayo describes himself as a Mexican emigrant with an American education and says he is a Mexican professional in an American society. “I am still a unique individual, not just another person in the bunch,” Aguayo says. “It is possible to be a part of a different society but still stand out as a professional.”

His parents’ sacrifice — leaving their home in Mexico behind to bring he and his brother to the United States for a better future — keeps him motivated. “They sacrificed their own identity, their own culture, and they are here for my brother and I,” Aguayo says.

Written by College of Education