Meet a Senior: Johana Sepulveda Vieyra

Interview by Mary Grace Shirk 

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Johana Sepulveda Vieyra, a member of the graduating class of 2023 at Eastern Oregon University. Join us as we explore Johana’s personal growth, the impact of her EOU experience, and her future aspirations. 

Why did you choose EOU?

“I chose EOU, I guess, because it was a small school, rural, and close to home. I’m an hour and a half away so I can still visit my family, if I want. My good friend actually also attended EOU and I’m very familiar with the campus, so I think it was just, like, an easy transition for me.” 

What is your major and why did you choose it? 

“Well my major is two-in-one, like anthropology/sociology, but I have a concentration in social welfare and a minor in Spanish. I chose it because I wanted to work somewhere within the human services field and I figured that would be the best path to do so, and I really enjoy it.”

What was your favorite extracurricular activity and why? 

“I feel like my favorite extracurricular activity is being a part of Latino Impact and getting to talk to people who are from my community, or who aren’t, but educating them, I think, has been really enjoyable while I’m here.”

How long have you been part of the club?
“Since my freshman year of college, so I think for three years or so.”

What was your favorite part of EOU? 

“My favorite part definitely has to be the outdoors, I think with the warm weather of course I’ve been enjoying that a lot, and being able to lay down in the grass and just enjoy the outdoors for what it is. And also going to the events here, they’re pretty fun… meeting new people and all that.”

What is a memory from your time at EOU that brings you joy?
“I think a good memory would be, I guess, working for res life. I’ve been able to meet a lot of people and make new friends. I think just being a part of that and getting the opportunity to work in that role as an RA and hall coordinator has been one of the biggest memories here. It’s made a big impact on me, being here, and just me as a person.”

What impact did the COVID-19 pandemic have on your college experience?

“Yeah. So, first of all, it led to a lot of my decision to come here, actually — due to them having in-person classes too, because of COVID. I think my first year here, living within the residence halls, was just, I don’t know, really hard to make friends and meet people due to the restrictions we had. I guess a lot of the places here were closed, or remote, one would say, so it was more difficult to reach out and find the resources that I needed, but luckily I was able to make it through and come back my second year and figure a lot of things out, and get to be more familiarized with campus.”

So that was your first year, right, that COVID was a thing? 

“Mhm. Yeah, as an incoming freshman.”

In what ways have you changed throughout your time here? 

“I’ve definitely matured more and I think, with my major and everything, it’s given me a different perspective on life as a whole and jobs and how everything works, but I think something that will be most memorable to me will be my personal growth here at EOU.”

So you’d say you’ve grown a lot, as an individual?
“Yeah, as an individual, I feel like coming in I was just very naive, and didn’t really know much about being here, and even just, I don’t know, going to the counseling center and all that has really helped me reflect and look at my life and define my goals and what I want to do and who I want to be.”

How did the school prepare you for your career? What’s next after graduation?

“I think definitely experience-wise. Just being able to work in the field and interview people who are in that social welfare field has really opened my eyes, I guess. I had a class where we would interview people from different jobs, from parole and probation, to Shelter from the Storm, and we got to learn about their jobs and what our degrees can help us with in the future. I definitely took that as a way to see, ‘oh ok, these are the things I need for a job and what I can do to obtain those.’ After graduation, right now, my plan is to work, and I plan to take a couple of years off but return to get a master’s degree, hoping to work somewhere within the social welfare field or human services.”

Do you have any advice for incoming EOU Students?
“Yes. I do. [Laughs] I think if you’re scared to try something new, don’t let that be the only reason to hold you back, ‘cuz I think we’re here, and we’re getting ourselves out of our comfort zone, so why not a little bit more? So, I don’t know, attending the Week of Welcome, or just events in general, really getting involved within EOU, as well. I’d say just go for it, don’t wait for other people to go with you, don’t be waiting on someone else or rely on them, just literally go. If it’s by yourself, it’s by yourself. Yeah, that’s my advice — ‘cuz you never know who you’re gonna meet and you never know what will happen.”

Do you have anything else you’d like to share? 

“Thank you. I’ve really learned a lot from everyone. I’m just grateful to be here and that I had the opportunity to attend EOU and see… I guess, everything. And learn.”

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