Edwin Torres (’21) is a proud Mexican-American veteran who came to Central Washington University to study geography after serving in the United States Marine Corps.
For Torres, the Marine Corps was a challenging but meaningful experience, saying, “It forced me to begin to grow into who I am today. I think the biggest lesson I learned in the military that has influenced my life the most is that you don't give up, because we are all capable of achieving our goals in life.”
Once at CWU, Torres connected with the Veterans Center on campus which supports student veterans, service members, and their families through their educational journey.
Veterans Center Director Ruben Cardenas mentored Torres and helped him during his time at CWU, along with many other faculty and staff.
“I was fortunate to have the staff and faculty that I interacted and learned from all want me, and other students, of course, to succeed,” said Torres.
When he looks back on his time at CWU he remembers it fondly, recalling memories about the Veterans Center, the Latinx Student Organization, and even scrolling through Instagram and seeing an inspirational video MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chinana/o de Aztlan) posted when he was having a tough week.
When asked about his advice for current CWU students, Torres considered it carefully.
While he still feels like he’s navigating post-graduation life, he says, “Nobody gets through college completely on their own. So many people at the university are rooting for you and are willing to help you achieve your goals in any way that they can, so don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.”
Currently, Torres works as a rare plant monitoring and management intern at Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in San Francisco.
This work involves visiting different sites within the recreation area that have rare plant populations and performing maintenance such as invasive plant removal, seed sewing, or erosion control.
In his free time, Torres enjoys hiking, saying, “I love taking pictures of the landscapes I walk through. There is just something relaxing about being on the trail.”
In the future, Torres plans on focusing on what makes him happy.
“I currently only have one goal for the future, and it is pretty simple but nonetheless very important, and that is to simply be happy. I feel that if I keep that as my focus, I will be able to achieve anything I set my mind to.”
Story by: Kathleen Singleton