• A Teach for America volunteer.
  • A history and American ethnic studies degree holder.
  • From a migrant-worker family.
  • A former fraternity member.

Emilio Solano earned a double major at Willamette while engaging in numerous leadership activities.

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Changing Lives for Students

Emilio Solano ’09 draws on his own background as he volunteers in a Los Angeles classroom.

Emilio Solano '09 has always been keenly conscious of his migrant-worker father's struggles to support a large family.

"My father shared a lot of stories about his experiences and what it means to come from that background," Solano says. "But there are many students out there who have a much tougher time than I did."

Drawing on his own experiences, Solano wanted to devote much of his time at Willamette to improving lives for others. With a motto of "Not unto ourselves alone are we born," Willamette offered him many opportunities to explore that passion.

"There are so many ways to get involved at Willamette, through programs and clubs, Greek life and volunteering in the community. Most students at Willamette really do exemplify and incorporate the university motto into their daily lives."

Solano volunteered at Willamette Academy, the university's program to assist underrepresented middle and high school students on the path to college.

He also helped organize Willamette's annual Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and served on the Council on Diversity and Social Justice.

After graduating, he headed to Los Angeles as a Teach for America volunteer. He plans to simultaneously earn a master's degree in teaching.

"I'm excited to provide the support and energy to help students achieve their goals and dreams," he says.

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