Hugo Gonzalez ’22, Student
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Hugo Gonzalez ’22 was always interested in art from a young age. Studying game design at Bloomfield College has helped him move forward with his dreams.
“The support I have received from my professors over the years and how much they love hearing what I aspire to do, is something that I treasure. The faculty are always interested in their students and I think that sets Bloomfield College apart,” said Gonzalez. “I come from a low-income, first-generation family where I had no role model to learn from about what to expect in College. The Bloomfield College family was there for me.”
Gonzalez shared that his parents always had high expectations for him that he would attend college, often saying “if you can imagine it, you can do it,” yet the cost of attendance created limitations when it came to where he might enroll.
“The scholarships and other financial assistance I received from Bloomfield made it an easy decision. Though I had looked at some out-of-state schools, since I lived in Central Jersey, the college still provided the distance from home that I desired,” he added. “Once I started, I was really nervous and had doubts about whether I could do it, but those fears were gone by the second semester. I received very personal, one-on-one attention and was able to develop an intimacy with staff that I don’t think I would have experienced at another school.”
Gonzalez was not only able “to do it” but thrived at Bloomfield. “I was able to challenge feelings of imposter syndrome and gained enough confidence to pursue studying abroad in France during the spring semester of my sophomore year. I am grateful to the College for many reasons, but one that stands out is when I unexpectedly received the financial help I needed at the very last minute to add to the resources my family was required to meet for my VISA application for the France study abroad. I ended up being able to join classmates about a week into the program,” he recounts.
His passions lie in connecting his art with his minor in Latino/Latin American and Caribbean Studies: “My main interests are in graphic design and illustration and I like to incorporate my minor into my art and my civic activism. For example, my internship professor of expanded media, Laura Nova, connected me in her network and soon I was helping with segregation issues through Integrate NYC, creating logos and visuals for its website. I also worked with the NYC Commission on Civic Engagement on The People’s Festivals project that would go to the pandemic’s hardest hit borough neighborhoods to provide vaccine workshops to educate low-income individuals about their housing rights as well as their voting rights. I also created the design and visuals for local grassroots organizers such as fliers for the project and original art for an ice cream truck of rights.
His artwork is also visible on The People’s Bus, a bus formerly used to transport people detained on Rikers Island that has been transformed with input from New Yorkers into a community center on wheels, with the purpose of engaging people in NYC’s civic life through beauty and joy. Recently, he was commissioned for the cover of the winter issue of the North American Congress on Latin America publication, an issue that will cover alternative media rights of journalists in other countries.
Always busy and always involved, Gonzalez is a member of the Honors Program and assists fellow students through the TRIO SSS mentorship program. He was also a member of the Association of Latin American Students (A.L.A.S.) where he became a member of the E-Board as a freshman – a very rare occurrence that recognized him for his deep level of involvement. By sophomore year, he was president of A.L.A.S. He has presented at a regional conference with Associate Professor and Coordinator of History/Global Languages Harry Franqui-Rivera, Ph.D. Currently Gonzalez is an RA, supporting the residents in his campus building.
After he graduates in spring 2022, Gonzalez plans to take a gap year before attending graduate school abroad. This upcoming summer, he will attend a seven-week French language immersion program at Middlebury College, Vermont. (laughing) “You have to pledge that if you speak any other language other than the one you are learning, you understand that you will be dismissed from the program,” Gonzalez said.