Carmela Castro, Academic Advisor, joined the College of Engineering and Computer Science in 2019. In Carmela’s words, “I support students’ academic goals through the guidance of academic policies, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the curriculum and catalog, connecting them to resources, and above all building great connections with an aim for inclusivity and understanding.”
Born in Los Angeles County in California, she moved with her family to Degollado, Jalisco, Mexico when she was 3 years old, where they lived for seven years until returning to the Los Angeles area. Prior to arriving in Chattanooga six years ago, she briefly lived in Durham, North Carolina.
And she’s met someone famous. “I once had an extensive conversation with Phylicia Rashad who played Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show. Although at the time I had no idea who she was, I later realized through our conversation. It happened at a retreat in San Isidro, California. Our small group of young teenagers invited her to join our circle and we exchanged stories. She was very inquisitive, and told us stories about dating a young musician, shared a few life lessons, and she spoke about a show called The Cosby Show, with which I was very unfamiliar.”
Tell us about your family if you would like to share.
CC: As a child, my parents did not have the energy and resources to add an additional pet to our family and I always wanted to have a dog or a cat. Fortunately, I now have a beautiful kitty named Elio and he’s a joy.
What is something you enjoy most in your position?
CC: I genuinely find people to be interesting individuals filled with stories and surprises. I am very fortunate that I get paid for getting to know students and their plight as humans.
What do you like doing in your spare time?
CC: In my spare time, I like to journal, hike, spend time with friends and family, and watch good tv (which includes the World Cup). Occasionally, I find an interesting book and I enjoy a good read.
What’s the coolest or most interesting thing you’ve been involved with either currently or in the past?
CC: At the age of 17, I lived in the residential hall at Georgetown University and I was an intern at the Library of Congress in the Jefferson Building. Although I was very young and my role involved scanning old books into the library database, I had one of the coolest and memorable experiences walking underground between the Library buildings and participating in a private tour of the Library’s rare book collection.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
CC: My proudest accomplishment is completing a bachelor’s degree because I am the first person in my immediate family to earn a college degree. It is very special to me because my parents couldn’t complete primary education and nor could their parents before them.
For what are you most grateful today?
CC: I am most grateful for having a great support system within my friendships, family, and loved ones.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
CC: The most daring thing I have done is move to Chattanooga with no job prospects and a small savings in my account.
What advice would you give to someone in their 20s?
CC: The advice that I would give someone in their 20s is that they are a lot stronger and more capable than they give themselves credit for.