A Conversation with Minerva Alumnus Rafael

Meet Rafael, an alumnus of the Class of 2022. | Jun 27, 2022

After 18 years of living in a small town south of Mexico City, Carlos “Rafael” Garduño Acolt, Class of 2022, felt like their future was predetermined, mapped out with a straight and narrow path. However, Rafael found a second home with Minerva during their first semester in San Francisco. “Feeling accepted and celebrated for the first time really changed the way I think about myself and my future,” Rafael reflects.

Through its powerful competencies, exposures, and experiences Minerva offers such as world travel, critical thinking, effective communication, societal reformation, etc., Rafael finally found themselves for the first time. “I was finally able to be myself for the first time in my life. Minerva helped me grow personally, professionally, and academically.”

Through Minerva’s financial aid and work-study program, opportunities opened for Rafael that were once unimaginable and unattainable. Traveling the world and being exposed to new cultures and philosophies, while also being challenged intellectually, to think outside the box with like-minded students.

Rafael recalls a Minerva semester spent in London with classmates, describing a moment of realization, one of finally being content in life, a feeling that had been gradually building during past semesters. “As a queer person, for the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged somewhere.”

Even though Rafael and their classmates were in a foreign city, on lockdown, during the pandemic, they created a sense of family among the group. For Rafael, this meant everything. “I think of London as my favorite semester at Minerva because my classmates and community made me feel safe, loved, and accepted. I was able to carry that feeling into my next three semesters, a feeling I plan to carry for the rest of my life.”

Rafael just graduated this month and is in the best position possible to begin their professional journey, both mentally, and academically. “Minerva empowered me to choose my own future, helping me define what success and happiness look like. My experience at Minerva has really changed how I feel about myself and how I feel about the world,” said Rafael.

Minerva University, recently named the most innovative university in the world, offers diverse experiences and exposures to its students through its learning pedagogy and technically innovative learning platform — teaching human learning processes that are often ignored across the rest of academia. Its students travel to seven cities across the globe, applying project-based teachings to local challenges, generating off-the-charts rates of admissions selectivity, social diversity, and professional outcomes.