The UA's Lasting Impact

Domenic Alvaro
April 2, 2013

In life, you meet many interesting and different individuals no matter where you go.

But even though we are all different, we can all work together and help each other out, regardless of a person's level of intelligence, their race, religion, beliefs or physical characteristics. And I am proud to say that the University of Arizona has made me realize and understand that concept in its entirety.

Domenic Alvaro (second from left) and members of his fraternity have volunteered with Lizzie's Loot in the past and now work with CATwalk. Alvaro said that because of the range of positive experience he has had at the UA, he persistently works to aid other people, both on and off campus.

At age 4, I was with my family in Flagstaff, Ariz. for the day to enjoy the cool weather. While at the lake, I had an accident which made me lose consciousness. Doctors ran tests, but had no explanation of why it happened. But they realized after the accident I had language processing difficulties and, as a result, I had difficulty with speech, hearing and processing information.

When I was in elementary school, I was put into special education and resource learning for speech and hearing. It was difficult, but I was thankful that I had such great educators to help me along the way.

Over time, I passed grade school, made it to eighth grade graduation and received a high school diploma, completing my K-12 requirements. Coming to the UA as a freshman, I was exposed to so many people and cultures – something I never really experience in my hometown.

After surviving my first semester in college, I was searching for a job when a friend of mine told me his office had an open student position. I signed the paperwork he gave me from his boss and began my student-employee career at the UA.

The student position was at the Disability Resource Center. There, students visit for assistance with their classes and, for example, are able to take course exams and complete other assignments through the Testing Office.

While the resources and technology used to make these things possible were amazing to me, it was the employees and students who truly made it special for me.

I honestly have never seen staff or faculty so dedicated to doing what they do, even if that meant taking on hours out of their schedule or working late just to make someone's day a little easier, or to help a student to be more successful.

One person in particular, Barbie Lopez, who supervised the student workers, always had a great attitude at work, which was very influential to me. If I had a bad day or was feeling down, Lopez would always be able to cheer me up. Lopez was not only dedicated to her work, but was also committed to making sure her student workers, as well as those who relied on the DRC, were set up to be as successful as possible. And she treated everyone like family.

These are a few of the countless traits that I try to follow with my current student job at the UA.

While I am no longer a student worker at the DRC, the impression the staff gave me has never left me. The staff members are my role models and inspire me to become a better person; to help those in need no matter who they are.

I would not have been successful or where I currently am without taking that student job at the DRC, and it will continue to help wherever life takes me.

Domenic Alvaro is a finance major and a member of the UA Chain Gang Junior Honorary and the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Gamma Delta Chapter. Alvaro also serves as a front desk assistant for the UA English department. His e-mail signature carries the quote: "Greatness lies in not only being strong, but in the right use of strength."


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