Antonio Juarez

’16 Communication

By Stephanie Villafuerte
English major, Communication minor
Communication & Marketing Intern

When Antonio Juarez was only one, his parents decided to leave their home in Jalisco, Mexico and move their family of five to Glendale, California in hopes of achieving the American dream. His childhood was a happy one, consisting of days riding his bicycle around the neighborhood and playing with action figures.

But as he and his siblings got older, Juarez’s parents decided to move again to prevent them from getting involved with the city’s high crime rate. The family landed in Oxnard where Juarez found a supportive group of friends and mentors.

“During high school, I joined the cross country and track team where I met people who encouraged me to pursue higher education,” he said.

The first-generation student would later choose CSUCI for two reasons: to stay close to his family and to break the stigma on educated Mexican Americans.

“I had to prove to myself and all the people in my life who believed I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, that I could do it,” Juarez said. “One of my mentors once told me, ‘Don’t become another statistic, you have to graduate!’ and that stuck with me.”

In his senior year, he worked alongside Communication Associate Professor Jacob Jenkins on a research paper published by the International Journal of e-Collaboration. Juarez would also find a love for photography through Art Lecturer Larry Lytle’s classes, which led to his own collection Cajas de Cartón(Cardboard Boxes) being shared at exhibits.

“Photography allows me to communicate using a different platform. With Cajas de Carton, I explored giving a voice to the voiceless by connecting farmworkers and those underserved. This influenced my current line of work,” he explained.

Juarez graduated in 2016 with his B.A. in Communication with an emphasis in Business and Nonprofit work. He then began working for Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide housing assistance for those in Ventura and Santa Barbara County.

One of his greatest accomplishments within CEDC to date is his partnership with CSUCI’s Center for Community Engagement, in which he set up the Little Dolphins Virtual Learning Program. The program teaches young children culturally relevant literature alongside learning activities.

“It’s rewarding, seeing their faces as they gain confidence reading and communicating with their peers. Especially hearing them say they want to go to university one day at such an early age, it brings me so much joy,” Juarez said.

His role as resident manager also involves budgeting, keeping up with properties, rent collection, event planning, and tending to resident emergencies. It’s a job Juarez takes more seriously than ever before as families are impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

He explains how enriching recent work projects have been in the last year and a half.

“During quarantine, I was able to partner with Food Share to provide my residents with groceries,” he said. “Seeing the kids smile as they reached for their food and knowing that their nutritional needs are being met is an extremely satisfying feeling.”

As for the future, Juarez plans to serve underprivileged communities by starting his own non-profit organization centered around art and education.

He provides easy-to-follow advice for students entering the field.

“Surround yourself with like-minded individuals that have your best interest at hand. Make the time to visit your professors during their office hours and cultivate your professional relationships. CI’s small classroom size allows you to really engage with your professors and peers. The relationships you develop during your academic career can pay dividends in the future as you transition on to the next chapters in your life.”

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