So many chances to learn and grow

Daniela Aponte is learning to be a leader by actually being one on campus. “People are interested in what you want to learn here, and they will give you the opportunity to grow.”

Daniela Aponte’s involvement on campus began the moment she became a Beloiter. Fast-forward almost two years, and the sophomore’s co-curricular activities are an essential part of her education.

“A lot of my involvement on campus has stemmed from recommendations. They kind of found me, in a way,” she says.

The Chicago native was drawn to Beloit during her college search process. Coming from a large classroom setting, Aponte knew that she wanted small class sizes. A visit during an overnight admitted student event convinced her that Beloit would be her new home.

“Campus was beautiful,” she says. “I instantly felt a sense of belonging when I arrived.” Throughout her visit, she recognized the diversity and quirkiness of the student body. “Not quirky in a negative sense,” she explains. “There are a lot of people with different personalities and complex layers, and they showcase that with the things they do and the ways they express themselves. That captured me.”

Soon after Aponte committed to Beloit, she became involved in the Student Excellence & Leadership (SEL) program. The program provides academic, professional, and personal support for eligible students to help them successfully navigate their first year of college and beyond. Through SEL, Aponte attended a summer institute that helped her transition to college and establish her campus support network.

“I appreciate how accessible my faculty advisor is to me. It’s a mentorship that allows for informality. I have their phone number and can reach out any time,” says Aponte. She was also connected with a peer mentor for her first year. “Both my advisor and my mentor have been supportive. They have built up my confidence and pushed me to do more things.”

Aponte’s resume now includes on-campus jobs, executive board titles, and mentorship roles. She serves as a peer mentor for the SEL program, is a member of the Spanish Club and Black Students United (BSU), and is on the executive board of the Voces organization on campus. Her involvement in the Spanish Club connected her with the admissions office, where she helped campus visits become more accessible by implementing tours in Spanish.

Aponte is also drawn to the outdoors. Her SEL advisor knew this and recommended she apply for a new student position on campus. Aponte sought out the opportunity, and helped establish the college’s Sinissippi Cruisers bike-share program through the Powerhouse.

“We had bikes available, and it was our job to develop the program and create awareness,” Aponte said. She says it involved a lot of details and problem solving, and these are the exact skills she will take into the classroom in her future as an educator.

Where will Aponte’s journey take her next? She will join the Residence Life team as a Resident Assistant (RA) for the 2021-22 academic year. She appreciates that the Beloit community supports her continued growth.

“People are interested in what you want to learn here, and they will give you the opportunity to grow,” says Aponte. “It is a good reflection of the faculty, staff, and other Beloiters believing in your abilities.”

April 22, 2021

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