Activities: Philosophy Club, Musicians Guild, Artists Collective
What attracted you to Rutgers University and the Honors/Scholars Program?
I first heard about Rutgers University when I was offered a full athletic scholarship from the gymnastics team during my junior year of high school. This opportunity led me to learn about the school's academic programs. I was excited about the existence of an Honors program as well as the high rankings of the philosophy department and the arts school. It seemed like Rutgers best programs were the very ones I was interested in.
Why did you choose your major and minor?
I have always been interested in the "big questions" that are the topic of most philosophical inquiry, and my interest in such questions was further solidified when I took an Intro to Philosophy class in high school. As for my three minors, I have always loved the arts; I played piano and danced competitively from a young age, and began writing poetry and short fiction in high school.
Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now. What was your first job after Rutgers? Where you do you live?
I can't exactly answer what my "first job" after Rutgers was because I've never quite followed the traditional path and this hasn't changed since graduating. I worked at various local dance studios and as a tutor for the athletic department while still a student, and during my first year I kept most of those jobs while founding a professional contemporary dance company with my sister, soon to be fellow Rutgers alumni, Eriel Santagado. I will also admit that I did some "professional" dog walking for extra cash and puppy love. Now, my main source of income is through remote SAT Prep tutoring with the Houston-based company Ivy Scholars. My company, ~mignolo dance~, is beginning to pick up speed and we are on our way to becoming a 501-c3 nonprofit based in Metuchen, NJ.
What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since you graduated Rutgers?
My greatest accomplishment since graduating has definitely been ~mignolo dance~. We had more than 10 performances last year and have many planned for 2019 already. We are also in the process of developing ~mignolo arts center~, slated for completion this spring. [This year] I was selected for the coLAB Arts’ residency "Motion: New Dance Works in New Brunswick, NJ” and performed March 14 & 15, 2019 at Loree Dance Theater. My company, ~mignolo dance~ has [also] been selected as the new New Jersey Professional Company for Dance on the Lawn in Montclair on September 7, 2019.
Was there a class and/or experience at Rutgers that led you to pursuing your current career?
While there were many classes and experiences that inspired me at Rutgers, I can't say that any one in particular led me to my current career. My sister and I have talked about starting a dance company since we were young and I'm very excited that our dream is starting to become a reality. As far as the actual content of our choreographic endeavors is concerned however, my senior thesis was instrumental. I wrote about the translatability of art across different mediums and making translations according to my thesis research has been the subject of almost all of my recent work.
What three words describe your experience at Rutgers and the Honors/Scholars Program?
Artistic. Broad. Warm
How has your Rutgers and Honors education benefited you in your post-Rutgers life?
My education at Rutgers has had a positive influence on my post-Rutgers life. I feel that my education helped me to be well-rounded and open-minded and that employers greatly respect the university and what it stands for.
What advice do you have for our current SAS Honors Program students?
Don't wait to pursue your passions - start now!
For more information about this Honors alum, visit: www.mignolodance.com
Are you a Rutgers Honors alum? Be featured in an upcoming Honors Alumni Spotlight by completing our online submission form.