In recent months, Emiliano Arizmendi-Castilla ’22 has learned what it takes to be flexible. After studying economics at Crafton Hills Community College, he transferred to the University of Redlands in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, declared two majors, and filled his calendar with extracurricular responsibilities. Through it all, he has welcomed the opportunity to explore his interests.
“Being supported—by family, professors, and teammates—goes a long way,” he says, noting he also received financial support as a recipient of the Laura Dangermond Endowed Scholarship. “At Redlands, I know I have many resources and opportunities to change course.”
Arizmendi-Castilla, who is a first-generation college student, says he owes much of his success to the smooth transfer process. “I met amazing people who have helped me, including [Crafton Hills Transfer Center Coordinator] Veronica Moreno and [U of R Associate Director of Transfer Recruitment] Kylie Mulder,” he says. “Crafton and Redlands have a beautiful relationship, and it was the perfect time and scenario for me.”
Originally wanting to pursue a career in neuroscience, Arizmendi-Castilla took a required United States government and economics course and was inspired to make change in the world. Now majoring in political science and Spanish, he plans to take his desire to help others and apply it to a future career.
He credits Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature Ivonne Gordon-Vailakis for motivating him to study the language. He’s now reading books written in Spanish that he “should have read a long time ago.” His advisor, Professor of Political Science Eric McLaughlin, was also influential, introducing him to scholarship on political violence and international human rights.
Joining the mock trial team seemed like an obvious next step in his academic journey. After reading a book on human rights litigation, he thought the team’s activities would help him better understand legal processes and procedures. In February, he participated in a mock trial online tournament and says he’s already looking forward to the next competition. He has also joined the Associated Students of University of Redlands social media team.
At the center of Arizmendi-Castillas’ decisions is the importance of building relationships with others. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has managed to develop friendships he knows will last after he graduates. “Even with the barrier of online courses, we still all have had the opportunity to get to know each other,” he says, “and that’s a beautiful thing.”
In 10 years, Arizmendi-Castillas sees himself traveling the world, helping human rights violation victims. He looks to the women in his life for guidance, saying, “I owe my success to my hard-working mom, and the unconditional and loving support of my sister. They are both cornerstones in my life, and without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Additionally, his aunt, who used to work for Mexico’s National Commission for Human Rights, now travels around that country and surrounding regions documenting such cases and providing victims with the guidance needed to overcome and legally fight such violations. He hopes to follow in her footsteps and help populations who need it most.
Until then, he is savoring this moment of exploration and his interactions with other Bulldogs. “I like adventure, and this time to figure things out has been very valuable to me,” he says. “The closeness I’ve experienced at Redlands—the ability to talk to friends, professors, and administrators when I need help—has been so important.”
Learn more about transferring to the U of R.