Augustana understands the value and impact that historically marginalized people have on communities all over the world — recognizing that this university would not be the place it is without these students, faculty and staff. In the "At AU" series, the university aims to showcase these exceptional people so we can all hear their voices in an effort to foster positivity and create awareness of their experiences on campus.
For Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month — which is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 — Augustana is featuring Osvaldo “Ozi/Ozzie/Ozzy” Magana-Juarez ‘25, of South Sioux City, Nebraska. Magana-Juarez, a finance and accounting double major, is part of La Unión Hispana, the economics club and Augustana Tabletop Games Organization. He speaks English and Spanish.
Q: Where or how did you hear about Augustana?
A: My uncle recommended it to me when some other college plans went south and I’m quite happy he did! I love Augie and it’s quite the fun place to be.
Q: What is/are the reason(s) you chose to come to Augustana?
A: It’s close to home while still granting me freedom to do what I want, which means if things go awry, I can still rely on my family here. I also really liked the campus and combined with the recommendation from my uncle, whomst I hold in high standing, it was a major selling point for me.
Q: What are your career goals/aspirations?
A: To become an accountant and help my community with its financial needs so those struggling can find their footing to get out of poverty. I hope, in using my skills and abilities, to be that stepping stone out of poverty because while giving someone money will help, another useful tool is the knowledge on how to use it so they can continue to make it grow.
Q: What is it like for you to be Hispanic/Latinx at AU?
A: It can be hard at times because there aren’t that many Hispanics on campus compared to any other ethnicity or minority as far as I have seen. So, to me it feels like there’s no one else who shares my culture here on campus, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because it gives me the opportunity to talk about my culture and spread it to those who aren’t as familiar with it. However, it still sucks that there aren’t as many people I can relate to. There is also the case with microaggressions where people will avoid my path (even during the day but mostly at night), so it sort of forces me to go out of my way and avoid people so I don’t make them feel uncomfortable. The occurrences are rare but they do happen and while it sucks, I understand why these things happen. Despite this, though, the environment in my classes is wonderful and I enjoy all my classes and professors. Combining this with clubs, college has been quite fun!
Q: What do you want others to know about your culture?
A: That there’s much more than just the stereotypical tacos, tequila, gangs, etc. I want to show people the other great food that we have to offer and not only that, but our customs which can be so fun! Just showing the way we celebrate birthdays and gatherings because of how different they are but also how fun. Also to break some of the stereotypes, like where some people believe Hispanics are aggressive. That isn’t the case for everyone. I want to show the culture behind families where they love each other deeply and how much effort the mom and dad put in for their kids, but also how the siblings stick up for each other and how the whole community with many families sticks together and helps each other out when they need it.
Q: Are you a part of any affinity groups or Hispanic/Latinx-centered organizations on campus or outside of AU? If so, what does it mean to you to be a part of something such as this? What do you hope to achieve as part of the organization?
A: I’m part of La Unión Hispana and while last year I didn’t do much, this year I’m treasurer, so I’m hoping I can be a bit more involved in the club and help plan fun events that help bring awareness but also get others involved in Hispanic culture. Being a part of this club means I have the opportunity to express my culture and get others involved. I’m hoping the club is able to grow larger and fund larger events so maybe we can host large parties that resemble those from my culture.
Q: Is there someone at Augustana who has been inspirational to you or helped guide you throughout your time at AU? If so, how?
A: Mili Aguilar (‘25), hands down, has been a large help in keeping me focused and motivated to keep trying my hardest here at Augie. I first met Mili when she was my peer mentor for the Journey Scholars Program and through that program I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Mili frequently about everyday life to school. We had regularly scheduled meetings, but they didn’t feel forced. Rather, it was enjoyable and made school easier since she could give me tips on homework and other things since she was already a sophomore. Another thing I enjoy talking with Mili about is our culture and our childhoods because we lived similar experiences so having her to relate to has been a great help. She provides great advice that just keeps me going and her optimism and cheerful attitude always brightens my day. Mili has given wonderful advice that has helped me access opportunities I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and I believe, without her, my time here at Augie would have been much harder. Mili is also Hispanic and seeing how hard she tries and how far she’s come in an institution where there aren’t many Hispanics to begin with fills me with determination to succeed just like her.
To learn more about the "At AU Series," visit augie.edu/AtAU.