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Student profile: Luis

Luis Roa Santoyo
Plan II, Mexican American and Latina/o Studies & Sustainability Studies
Rapoport Service Scholar, MALS Paredes Fellow & Skaaren Climate Scholar
Class of 2022

Hello! My name is Luis Roa Santoyo, and I am an incoming second-year studying Plan II, Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, and Sustainability Studies. I am from Arlington, Texas and have lived there my whole life. Coming to UT was a major shock, and I still remember the fear I felt at orientation and in my first month here. The first organization I joined was the Queer and Trans People of Color Agency, and I quickly found my group of people. With focus on radical community care and activism work, my passion for serving my communities was cemented. I dropped my Communication major and added on two more. It felt like coming home.

My favorite thing about Plan II is just how committed the program and the faculty are to inclusion and the success of ALL Plan II students. In the Fall semester, an email was sent out about applications for the Directors Student Advisory Council. I was chosen as one of many students, and we met once a month to discuss the issues surrounding our Plan II community. I expressed feeling like an outsider to Dr. Wettlaufer as a marginalized student and she took it very seriously. With the immense help of Dr. Wettlaufer, Plan II professors, and First-Gen students, P21G was created. The mission of P21G is to ensure the success of First-Generation students through mentorship and community building. I am excited to start the year and build a community within Plan II dedicated solely to the success of first-gen students.

I was named a Rapoport Service Scholar in the Spring semester, a scholarship program focused on community service. I am currently volunteering as a tutor, cleaner, and translator at Casa Marianella, a women and children’s shelter. During the school year, I was a reading buddy for an East Austin elementary school, all coordinated by my World Literature Professor Dr. Lisa Moore. It was one of the highlights of my first year and it truly blew my mind how my English class was able to incorporate service learning, women’s literature, and children’s literature all into one semester.

As my first year at UT came to an end, I realized just how connected all my classes were. I saw just how much of a compliment Plan II was to my other majors. My TC from the fall semester, Immigration and the American Dream, covered topics from my Intro to Mexican American Studies class from the Spring semester. My Plan II Biology course was covering topics and offering a scientific basis to much of what I was learning in my sustainability studies course Creating a Sustainable Society! Plan II makes triple majoring an exciting venture, and the education I am receiving is what 10-year-old Luis dreamed of.

I have no fear for the future and what I will be doing because I know the learning experiences Plan II and UT provide are shaping my path. In my first year, I have learned to take initiative and go after what makes me happy. I plan on going to law school after graduation and hope to practice environmental law. Nothing will make me happier than to be a voice for marginalized communities disproportionally affected by climate change.

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    Austin, Texas, 78712-1250