Josie Del Castillo

Josie Del Castillo

Name: Josie Del Castillo
Age: 27
Major: Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
College: College of Fine Arts- School of Art
Hometown: Brownsville, TX
High School: Lopez High School, Brownsville, TX 

UTRGV is one of the most affordable universities in Texas. I am constantly thinking of ways to save money and being resourceful, so there was no doubt that I wanted to stay home to take advantage of this opportunity. I also believe the main goal of UTRGV is to give Hispanic students the best education, opportunities, and resources one can get by working together as a whole instead of divided.

What made you decide on your current major?
I’ve been passionate about art since a small age. When I decided to major in Studio Art it felt right to me, and it’s been the only pathway I wanted to pursue. By pursuing this career pathway, I’ve been able to learn variations of creative skills, and at the same time learn to grow as a person. I believe the arts have an important impact in an individual’s growth, knowledge, and humaneness.

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
I want to acquire a job position in academia. I want to work as an art professor and help students develop their skills. My art professors have been so supportive from the beginning of my career, and I want to give back to the next generation. 

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am going to be honest; it’s been very difficult to stay motivated. As my last semester of grad school, I was really looking forward to it and making it the best semester. At first, I didn’t want school to end. I loved being in the studio/academic environment, and since I don’t have that now, it’s a little hard to stay focused. What I do have is hope, and I am hopeful that things will get better soon.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
As a first-generation student pursuing a master’s degree, I am extremely proud of my roots, my culture, my family and friends for being so supportive. As a Hispanic, we know the importance of family and support, I think these traits reflect on UTRGV, since the majority of the students are Hispanic. I am proud to be in a university that focuses on helping so many students with low resources and many first-generation students.

What are a few of your favorite books?
My mentor and professor Veronica Jaeger lent me this book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams, when I was in a very dark time and it gave me a sense of hope. Pretty much what you want in life, such as your goals, you can achieve it as long as you set your mind to it. After reading this book, I was intrigued by other self-help books and later purchased, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. This book covers ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person's life.

What advice or encouraging words do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
That during tragic times, people come together. The only way we will able to pull through is by being patient and supportive. It’s difficult for a lot of us, but I think this pandemic is making us realize what matters the most, and that’s the simplicity of being human. I appreciate the little things more and miss going on coffee dates with my friends, having a date night with my boyfriend, and having carne asada with my family. We miss things that brings us together. Once this is over, we will be more grateful, more hopeful, and more resilient.