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Brandon Torres

Brandon Torres '18

Hometown: Santa Ana, CA

High School: St. Margaret's Episcopal School

Intended Major: Double Major in English/Education and Japanese

Possible Career: High School Teacher and Author

5 Words: Living Life Through My Passions

What impact do you want to have on this world?

On a broad scale, I think that both trough my teaching and writing, I want to play a role in expanding the possibilities that people have for their world and in giving them opportunities to realize those dreams. Speaking from personal experience, I have found that my education, both in formal institutions such as Swarthmore College and informal conversations with people, have expanded the ideas that I have for my life and the world. Growing up in a low-income, LatinX neighborhood, my dreams went so far as to graduating from high school. That ultimate diploma in my hand was as far as my dreams could go. It was through talking with other people, my 6th grade English teacher and my high school art teacher for example, and my work in school (especially at Swarthmore) that I was introduced to other possibilities. I could become an author. I could become a teacher engaged with community work for social change. I could do anything that I want to. As a teacher and author, I want my work to allow people to re-imagine their world and to change these dreams.  

Yet, for this potential to be realized, I know that I must also work to dismantle systems of oppression that work to suppress the potential of certain populations. Whether we look at this in the local level and focus on schools in Philadelphia that continue to go without textbooks, or on a global scale and pay attention to the fact that some people are even denied the right to live, we realize that there is a wide gap of opportunity between the privileged and unprivileged. It is my hope that my life serves not only to dismantle these inequalities but that it inspires others to do the same. 

Name a person you admire.

At this moment in my life, when I am focusing a lot of my time into my writing and artistic process, I look up to Studio Ghibli creator and world-renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki as my role model. Though not much is known about his personal life, some documentaries have investigated his everyday life as an animation director and it is both his imagination and work process that inspires me to give everything to my work. Hours upon hours are spent in the studio, working through rough sketches as well as paying close attention to the meticulous details of finished works. When I watch his films, I am always moved by the journeys that he takes us on as well as the aesthetic quality of his technique. Though writing and animation are two different mediums of artistic expression, I want my writing to similarly evoke feeling within my readers through its aesthetic quality and the expression of the human experience. I look to Hayao Miyazaki often because he reminds me both of what my dreams are as well as the amount of time that it takes to improve one's craft. 

What is something you are proud of in your life so far?

It sounds a bit too basic, and I might actually be writing this out of lack of other things, but I'm really proud that I am happy in this moment of my life. I feel as if though for most of my life, I have always been focusing on the next stage of my life. In middle school, I could not wait to start my high school career and then in high school, I couldn't wait to get out and start my life as a college student. It wasn't so much that I was unhappy throughout these years so much that I figured life would be a lot better in the following years yet to come. My freshman year at Swarthmore College was a weird combination of the happiest times and my lowest point. Yet, here I am now in my sophomore year, busier than I have ever been before, but happy. I'm enjoying life in the moment rather than in anticipation for better moments to come. I love what I'm doing and I'm doing it well. I couldn't be any more proud than in my self-acknowledgement of how far I have come in my own happiness. 

What have been the most valuable Evans Scholars program experiences for you?

Though my travels abroad won't begin until next summer, I have already used some of my Evans funding in the purchase of a digital camera. In continuing my journey as a photographer, with its roots stemming all the way back to my freshman year of high school, I knew that a camera would be essential to my continuing development as both an artist and writer. So far, I have used my camera to document my everyday life, providing a visual means to preserve the many experiences of my life in supplementation to my journaling. Additionally, I have used it in the production of visual pieces that seek to communicate a larger idea (photography as a visual art) and in providing visuals for my writing in my personal blog and Daily Gazette. Right now, I am using this camera as the Documentarian/Archivist of the Latino Heritage Month Committee. In many ways, this digital camera has allowed me to take on the role of a Documentarian for my life and the events occurring around me. It's a tool that has very much been valuable in my personal introspection and reflections of life.