Miguel Arellano: Celebrating heritage and education


First generation college student Miguel Arellano puts the successes and needs of other students before himself.

He says the struggle of being a first generation Latino student is what drove him to pursue the graduate program in the College of Education studying student services administration.

“It was like living in this binary world where I would go home and my family wouldn’t understand what I was going through in college,” Arellano says. “But then I would come to campus and a lot of the students wouldn’t; understand my passion and my background.”

Arellano was born in Mexico and raised in Woodburn, a predominantly Latino community.

After coming to Oregon State, he began volunteering at the Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez and other cultural centers on campus.

“We would bring in community members to talk to students, lead campus tours and get students to campus who otherwise wouldn’t have the resources and knowledge to make it to school,” Arellano says. “All I ever wanted to do was go back and help my community.”


Arellano wants to continue to help people. His assistantship at Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez requires him to supervise and support a group of 11 students from all different backgrounds.

“I learned the power of story-telling, and narratives that show that we all come from very unique backgrounds and they all have stories to tell,” he says. “That’s the best way to get to know an individual and learn from them.”

Arellano says he will miss the opportunities for involvement at Oregon State.

“I think Oregon State is unique in that it has so many opportunities for students, including the seven cultural resource centers, 350 clubs and organizations,” Arellano says. “There’s so much opportunity for leadership and professional growth, that is definitely something I am going to miss at Oregon State.”

2 Responses to “Miguel Arellano: Celebrating heritage and education”

  1. Teresita Alvarez-Cortez says:

    Miguel Arellano will be missed tremendously on campus! He is a great leader with a ton of heart and passion for education, equity, and justice. His work on campus will continue long after he graduates this Saturday. Many thanks to OSU for showcasing such a phenomenal role model.

  2. Lori McGraw says:

    I am delighted to read about Miguel’s work at Centro Cultural Cesar Chavez. I had the pleasure of teaching Miguel as an undergraduate student in the program of Human Development and Family Sciences. I was impressed with his intellect, compassion, and dedication to social justice then. I am not surprised that his work continues to be exemplary.