Sara O. Silva (’19)

A Kid at Heart

When she was young, Sara O. Silva’s grandfather endured a lot of surgeries due to cancer. The medical interventions were tough on him and his family, including his young granddaughter. Silva (’19) became wary of hospitals. But as she grew, she decided to confront her fear and help others do the same. “I knew I wanted to do something associated with the hospital because I was always afraid of that environment, so I just wanted to offer support,” says Silva. She especially wanted to help kids.

She thought about becoming a pediatric nurse, but couldn’t stomach giving shots. Instead, she joined BU Wheelock’s five-year child life program. She hopes to work in a hospital as a child life specialist, advocating for families and children and guiding them through their stays. Her goal, she says, is “just really normalizing the hospital environment.” During her studies and time on the ward, she’s learned when to talk and when to stay quiet, how small gestures—a well-timed reward sticker—can have a big impact, and how to take a step back and calm people down when tempers fray.

Silva is a commuter student who lives in Norton, Mass., and for the past four years, she’s made the two-hour—each way—trek to school on public transportation. For early morning classes, she’s up by 4 am. “You learn endurance,” she says. “And you get a lot of work done.” It’s given her physical and mental toughness, she says, but hasn’t robbed her of her enthusiasm for bonding with kids. “I absolutely adore children. Even as a 22-year-old, I will play with bubbles; I genuinely connect to that population.”

Angel Munoz (’19)

A Teacher of Hope

Every summer, Angel Munoz (’19) digs out his mitt and coaches youth baseball in his native Los Angeles. Munoz loves the sport—he’s played since Little League—and he’s passionate about passing on his knowledge. It’s why he wants to be a teacher.

“I’m not in it for the glory, the fame, or the spotlight,” says the English education major. “I’m in it because I know I can help someone, and helping someone learn is what I’m aiming to do.”

Munoz would like to start his career teaching in a classroom, then earn a master’s degree. After that, his ambitions get a little fuzzier: he wonders if he’ll stay in the classroom, shape a school in an administrative role, or even influence education policy at the government level.

Whatever happens, he says, BU Wheelock has taught him to be bold and unafraid of failure in his quest to achieve change. “Small or big, doesn’t matter; it can be nationwide change or even a former student saying, ‘Thank you, Mr. Munoz, you helped me a lot.’”

He’ll have plenty of opportunities to impact students during his final year at BU Wheelock, first teaching eighth-grade English, then English as a second language, preferably at a high school.

“A lot of people have a no-hope mentality,” he says.  “I’m conscious of the idea that some places need a lot  of good educators and are under resourced, but passion  plays a huge role in making a difference achievable, and I have passion.”