Inspiring Change, Building a Community
My Path to Senior Walk
By: Gerson Fajardo-Brühl
If you had told me nine years ago that I would be the first person in my family to graduate from college in this country, I would have probably said ‘one can only dream.’ My path to Senior Walk began in San Pedro Sula, the second-largest city in Honduras where I grew up before moving to Mexico City and eventually to Bentonville at age 14. After graduating high school, I made one of the best decisions in my life, to attend the University of Arkansas. I was embarking on a crucial part of my life, one where I would experience exponential growth and further develop skills in leadership to inspire change for my community.
I found one of the best ways to get involved on campus was to join the Associated Student Government (ASG) at the University of Arkansas. My time with ASG was an incredibly rewarding journey, one that allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. Over the last four years, I was a member of the Freshman Leadership Forum, the Associate Member Program, and held positions of leadership such as Deputy Director of Student Safety and Director of Student Safety.
In these roles, I had the opportunity to organize the campus Glow Run and Safety Week events. More than 1,800 members of the campus community attended both events combined, which was encouraging, as it showed how many of our students, faculty and staff want to make a difference in advocating for safety initiatives. None of this would have been possible without the help of a number of collaborators and our Northwest Arkansas community.
Being a part of the Northwest Arkansas community and campus community at large is one of the most rewarding things that I’ve had the opportunity to experience
In Fall 2021, I joined an extraordinary community of undergraduate student leaders in the U of A Office of Admissions, providing our time to welcome and guide prospective students, sharing our personal experiences and providing them with first-hand information about the University of Arkansas. As ambassadors, we embraced our roles, embodying the spirit of the University of Arkansas and showcasing the strong sense of community that defines our campus.
To many college students, the start of a new semester brings a feeling of excitement and anticipation of what is to come. However, the COVID-19 pandemic was still ongoing, and I felt a calling to serve by joining the Pat Walker Health Center in their clinical lab. I’ve always thought the laboratory could be a place of heightened anxiety for many, as the fear of needles and uncertainty about test results weighed heavily on the minds of those seeking help. It was during those moments that I found my purpose—providing quality care with empathy and grace. In my case, the beginning of the Fall 2021 semestermarked a turning point in my life, a time of unprecedented change that tested every sense of what it means to face adversity. I lost a big part of my life, my mother, on August 24th, 2021, who was a figure that had raised me to become who I am today.
Her passing inspired me to continue working in the field of regenerative medicine and is the type of research I plan on pursuing in graduate school this fall.
To Thomas Carter III and Dr. Bryan Hill, thank you for being my guiding lights, my mentors, and my champions. Your impact on my life and my future is immeasurable, and I will carry the lessons I have learned from you throughout my career and beyond.
My incredible journey through the College of Engineering would not have been possible without the unwavering support and guidance of two remarkable individuals: Mr. Thomas Carter III and Dr. Bryan Hill. They have been the pillars of my success, standing by my side and inspiring me to reach new heights with each passing day. From the moment I arrived in Fayetteville, both men saw my potential, believed in my abilities and were invaluable mentors in my path to Senior Walk.
My path to Senior Walk was not easy, but I knew I could achieve my goals from the very beginning. I am thankful for the support from my family, the faculty and staff, and my fellow students. The memories from my four years are just the beginning and I’m looking forward to more memories being made as I continue my academic career in graduate school and beyond.
I could not have made a better choice than to become a Razorback.