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New Staff Spotlight: Dr. Wilfredo Alvarez

By Alexandra Maragha
On September 28, 2010

Universities such as NEIU take pride in developing and encouraging an actively diverse campus culture, which adds to the extracurricular and academic experience. Such an endeavor can be felt through students, faculty and staff where personal experiences merge with relationships. A new addition to the Communications, Media and Theatre Department at NEIU is Dr. Wilfredo Alvarez. In him, we find a professional who hopes to contribute to the NEIU culture through encouragement, mentorship and compassion.

Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, it was not until the age of 17 when Alvarez moved to live with this father in the Bronx, New York. The challenges of "culture shock," which were centered around language barriers, attributed to much of Alvarez's adjustment struggles in the U.S. Ultimately, his mentors sought to "polish a diamond in the rough," mentoring and encouraging Alvarez to attend Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in NY. There, he found his niche in communications, comparing his experience to a quote by Morgan Freeman, "I didn't choose acting, it chose me." After completing his B.S. in Professional and Technical Communication from RIT, Alvarez attended Florida State University at Tallahassee, where he received an M.S. in Communication and continued on to University of Colorado, Boulder to receive his PhD.

In the excitement of being a part of the NEIU community, Alvarez already feels a sense of belonging, even in the short time he has spent at the university. Alvarez feels that he is "here for a reason." He proclaims, "when I hear about the students, the culture, it just fits."

This semester, Alvarez teaches three Communication courses which reflect his experience and passion, specifically for organizational communication structures and studies. Outside of academia, Alvarez is becoming acclimated to Chicago, but is still "undecided" as to whether he is a Cubs or Sox fan. However, he enjoys the game of baseball.

Never forgetting his experience, nor those who encouraged and mentored him, Alvarez looks forward to contribute to the NEIU community through his position. He hopes to use it as "a vehicle to give back to those coming behind me like those who gave to me," and to even "saves lives." His positive outlook derives from the motivation that he has received throughout his life, as well as the excitement and possibilities that interactions and exchanges between people have. "People motivate me," he said.

Alvarez says that "small moments of hope" fuel his aspirations and expresses his hopes for others to "think compassionately." His advice for students and peers of humanity is, "believe that through empathy and compassion, we can change the world."

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