Our Stories | Octavio, Class of 2017

"...accessing spaces where I’d never been allowed before."

Octavio, Class of 2017, with his co-op employer, Donald Schoch '72

“I was born in Mexico. When I was two, my mother immigrated to the US as a single mom. My legal status in the US has given me a hard time, especially pursuing higher education. Antioch was one of the few places that did not deter me from pursuing my education because of my status. And the Horace Mann Fellowship was a great aid.”

On Saturday, June 22, 2017, Octavio will be receiving his B.A. from Antioch College, in front of his peers, professors, community, and in the presence of the Board of Trustees.

He majored in Anthropology, with a focus on Health. His senior project, entitled “Poder: the role of structural violence in declining health outcomes in Mexican undocumented immigrants in the US” questions the conventional wisdom which links poor health outcomes exclusively to economic and genetic factors. After conducting a thorough literature review and performing interviews at the Mexican consulate in Orlando, FL, he shed light on alternative explanations such as language barriers, lack of access to public spaces and the precariousness of labor conditions.
As his senior project demonstrates, Octavio believes that medical scholarship benefits from integrating anthropological perspectives, which is why when he applies to medical school next year, he will also be applying to joint Ph.D. programs in medical anthropology.

What he loved most about his Antioch Education was Co-op: “Before Antioch, all my jobs were in agricultural settings because of my legal status so the co-op program was an opportunity to put different jobs on my resume.” He worked at a New York law firm, as a data analyst in Chicago and performed a literature review on cervical cancer screening among Latinas for a publication in Portland.

But his favorite co-op was working for Dr. Donald Schoch '72 (pictured here with Octavio) in Cincinnati: “I loved the job but most importantly I loved the opportunity of growing my social network and accessing spaces where I’d never been allowed before.” Working with an alumnus of the College was especially rewarding: “It’s really cool to know that Antioch alumni are out there in the world doing things. It’s nice to know that they support you because they’re proud of their institution.”

Octavio would not be graduating from Antioch College had it not been for the support of alumni and friends.  Donate today so that more students can find safe harbor to develop their scholarship at Antioch College.