The Howard Thurman Center recently got a new Assistant Director. Check out this interview to get to know a bit about Pedro. Stop by the Howard Thurman Center in the basement of the GSU to say hello and introduce yourself!
Where are you from?
P: I was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil and grew up in Coral Springs, Florida from ages 8 to 18.
What does your BU timeline look like? (i.e.: time entered, degrees obtained, positions held, etc.)
P: I entered BU as a COM undergrad in 2007 and graduated with my BS in Film & Television in 2011. I worked at the FitRec front desk for 3.5 years, served as an ASB Coordinator in 2009, Orientation Student Advisor in 2009, and FYSOP Coordinator in 2010. In January 2013, I returned to BU and began working at the HTC as its Administrative Assistant. During this time, I also enrolled in graduate school in the School of Education. I graduated in January 2015 with a Master of Education specializing in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies.
Were you involved in the Howard Thurman Center as a student?
P: As an undergrad I attended Coffee & Conversation with Dean Elmore pretty religiously and got involved in student organizations like Hug Don’t Hate through friends I made at the HTC. While I was never a Student Ambassador, I developed a relationship with Ms. Kennedy as a freshman and checked in with her throughout my college career.
What was your favorite part about BU as an undergrad?
P: My favorite part of being a BU student is that I constantly expanded my social circles and took part in experiences like FYSOP, Orientation, Coffee & Convo, Open Mic Nights, etc. that challenged me to break out of my shell, meet new people, do something unfamiliar, and ultimately grow in confidence and self-belief. I look back at undergrad as an incremental evolution where I became a more complete, capable, and thoughtful human being with each passing experience. I loved everything about it.
Who is your biggest hero/inspiration and why?
P: While my parents are a genuine inspiration to me, I do look to other figures for inspiration and example. I’m a HUGE comic book head, and I’m not ashamed to say that my reading Superman comics as a kid, teen, young adult had a profound effect on me in terms of shaping my values and personality. I try to live my life in a humble, determined, and level-headed way because that puts others around me at ease and helps me earn their trust. I got a lot of that from Clark Kent/Superman.
If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
P: I would love to fly! I love taking road trips and feeling that “clearing of the mind” that comes with being on the open road, but I think that experience would be so much cooler if I could enjoy it from above.
What is a hobby/activity that you enjoy in your free time?
I have two main hobbies, one creative and one athletic. I play guitar at home, and I play soccer in adult rec leagues around Boston.
Where do you most want to travel in the world?
This will sound surprising, but I’d actually like to visit more of Brazil! My family is concentrated in two cities, so whenever I travel I end up seeing the same places. I’d love to one day see the Amazon, Salvador, and the beautiful beaches along the coast line.
Why did you decide to go into higher education?
I decided to go into higher education because it’s a field that aligns with my values and allows me to use all of my self in the workplace. What I mean is that I’m not a cubicle work-a-bee who lacks the opportunity to incorporate his/her personality into what they do. I’m actually counted on to use my people skills, my background, my morals, and my love of Boston University to be an effective Assistant Director day in and day out. It’s incredibly fulfilling and makes each day different and exciting. I also love the intellectual stimulation that comes from working at a university and engaging with students. It keeps me current and constantly broadens my world-view.
What does your new role as Assistant Director involve?
My new role as Assistant Director allows me more freedom to meet and mentor students than ever before. While I am responsible for assisting Director Kennedy with the day-to-day operations of the HTC, I’m also in charge of leading programs like Book Club, Courageous Dialogues, Culture Council, and the Student Ambassador program that ultimately bring students from all walks of life together for a meaningful shared experience. I’m most excited to build on the HTC’s current foundations and take the philosophy of common ground beyond the walls of the Center and into other parts of campus, whether that’s through large-scale events that modernize Thurman’s lecture or recognition of folks who are living their life in a Thurman-esque way already and don’t even realize it!
What is your vision for the future of the Howard Thurman Center?
My vision for the Howard Thurman Center is for it to become the soul and heart of the BU community. I want every BU students to take a nugget of wisdom from Howard Thurman and apply it to their life because if they do that, they’ll be making the world a better place just by virtue of how they treat other human beings.
What advice do you have for students who are trying to figure out what makes them come alive and how that can relate to a career?
When you’re trying to find out what makes you come alive, it’s important to listen to your gut, your instincts, and your intuition. Think of the things you do, whether you classify them as a hobby, a passion, or your major, that bring you joy and excitement. Don’t ignore these activities, but rather, throw yourselves into them! While you may not reap the rewards immediately, it’s important to go after the things that you’re truly passionate about because that’ll allow you to master whatever you’re doing and become an expert in that activity or field. Once you’re an expert, odds are you’ll find a way to profit and earn a living, too. I strongly recommend the film Finding Joe for inspiration on coming alive.
Thanks, Pedro! We can’t wait to see what your continued dedication to the HTC, BU, and BU students brings us next!