In Episode 60, we talk to USC alum Andre Luna about what it means to be a First-Generation college student, his commitment to a life of service and advocacy, and how a film about surfing is helping him meet his goals.
Andre Luna is a son of Mexican Immigrants and is from La Puente, a small town in the San Gabriel Valley, 30 minutes east of Los Angeles. He is pursuing a BS in Public Policy and Law, a minor in Cinematic Arts, and a Masters of Public Administration. Andre is the first in his family to attend university and intends to use his education to enter the political realm and combat issues that continue to plague this country such as our crumbling infrastructure, deep-seated systemic racism, and diminishing social programs. Andre has a passion for giving back to his community, especially the Latino community, through mentorship, tutorship, and guidance. Among many of the interests Andre has, one of the most important is speaking on behalf of First-generation students and the American education experience for minority students. He has been involved in local and state politics throughout his experience with the LA County District Attorney’s Office and with California State Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg. Andre is currently interning at A Political consulting Group in Washington DC and plans to pursue a law degree and an eventual career in government following his time at USC.
People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode
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“I think one of the things we always ask ourselves is, ‘Who am I?'” -Andre LunaTweet
“Being First-Gen is a recognition of what’s come before me, but also what’s ahead of me [and] the challenges I face in the present.” -Andre LunaTweet
“One of the things I enjoyed about my time at USC was saying I was First-Generation because even though USC is known as this traditional [institution], it does have that dynamic of being different things at the same time.” -Andre LunaTweet
“There’s a lot of things that…people will try to hold onto as divisions, but one thing that I choose to do, and I think most people in my generation do, is find common ground, and that’s what being First-Gen really is. It doesn’t matter what background you are or where you live or what religion you practice, it’s that common struggle of being the first in your family to go through this shared experience.” -Andre LunaTweet
“[Being First-Gen] is going to push me to give back to students like me.” -Andre LunaTweet
“Ever since I was young, I always said that I wanted to be the voice for my community and voice for people that have inequities and injustices in this country.” -Andre LunaTweet
“We’re always told that America is number one. America is great. But then you look at the reality of things. There’s things that can be improved on. There’s definitely some problems that are not being addressed.” -Andre LunaTweet
“Dedicating my life to service is what I envision myself doing.” -Andre LunaTweet
“My goal is to basically make people’s lives better, and especially for my own community.” -Andre LunaTweet
“There’s a lot of things in this country that need to be fixed, and I think the biggest critiques that I have is there’s a lot of people that say we have problems, but there’s not anyone actually doing anything to solve them.” -Andre LunaTweet
“To remain the number one country in the world we have to be constantly improving and that means recognizing what’s at fault and what needs improvement, and I think one of those things is education.” -Andre LunaTweet
“I feel like half the battle is won, metaphorically, in the classroom, but the other half is outside of it as well.” -Andre LunaTweet
“Networks save lives […] I secured my internship because of my network.” -Andre LunaTweet
“I think the best advice I got was always have questions about what you’re being taught because it’s coming from a certain vantage point.” -Andre LunaTweet
This episode was recorded on April 26, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.