Gustie of the Week: Andrea Cruz Bracamontes

Kaitlyn DoolittleStaff Writer

This Gustavus student showcases the values of persistence in a time where the world is at odds with each other.

Andrea Cruz Bracamontes is a Junior Political Science and Spanish double major with a LALACS minor from Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Coming from the big city to the quaint campus on the hill, the transition was difficult for Bracamontes and the size of the campus wasn’t the only barrier she had to overcome. Bracamontes’ first year at Gustavus was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I’ve had a really interesting experience at Gustavus, I came here in the fall of 2020 in the peak of the pandemic and it was really difficult to interact with other students at that time,” Bracamontes said. 

As time goes on, Bracamontes feels more at ease in the Gustavus campus. “Now as things are returning back to normal, I find that there is a new sense of community that has made me feel welcome on campus!” Bracamontes said. 

Bracamontes has become more ingrained in the campus community, diving deeper into her studies, extracurricular activities, and work as a Spanish and Writing Center tutor. 

A double major in Political Science and Spanish, Bracamontes aspires to work directly with political issues and different organizations. “I’m hoping to go into the field of international relations and this undergraduate degree will be a stepping stone to attending graduate school and eventually working with intergovernmental organizations,” Bracamontes said. 

Bracamotes recently had a taste of what that type of work entails. “This summer, I worked with an Indigenous community internationally when I traveled to Cayambe, Ecuador as an extension of a National Science Foundation Grant to facilitate the braiding of Western forms of knowledge with Indigenous methods of collecting data,” Bracamontes said. 

As Bracamontes carries on in her undergraduate studies, she has developed clear aspirations for her future. [In the] short term I hope to attend graduate school and get a master’s degree in International Relations. [As for] long term, I hope to work for an IGO like the International Organization for migration,” said Bracaomontes. 

With a strong focus on social justice and equity, Bracamontes says that her two main mentors on campus are Tom Flunker, the Director for the Center for Inclusive Excellence, and Doug Thompson, the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at Gustavus. 

Outside of her professional career, Bracamontes stays heavily involved on campus, specifically with DLC (Diversity Leadership Council), OLAS (Organization for Latin American Students), and MUN (Model United Nations).  

Bracamontes describes the OLAS organization as ‘home’. “I found a space that is inclusive to not only Latin American Students but students of all cultural/ethnic/racial backgrounds. The community that has been built within this organization is one of the main reasons I’ve felt like I belong at Gustavus,” Bracamontes said. 

Bracamontes also adds that being in OLAS has played a part of her favorite memories in her Gustavus career. “I think that being a part of organizing one of the biggest events of the year last year, Latinx Night was definitely one of my highlights. I’m really excited to be a part of some of the biggest cultural events of the year like PASO’s Africa Night and OLAS’ Latinx Night!” Bracamontes said. 

For MUN, Bracamontes appreciates the practicality of such an organization. “I like MUN because the conferences we attend are really fun and help me practice my resolution writing skills. Additionally, it is one of my areas of interest! I really enjoy the fact that you get to represent a country and behave diplomatically with other delegates while trying to pass resolutions,” Bracamontes said. 

Bracamontes advises all Gusties to equally prioritize work and play to achieve greater success. “A work life balance is really important. Make sure that you’re allocating enough time for school but also make sure that you’re enjoying your social life as well,” Bracamontes said.