Wilman, 22, is a fifth-year student at the Universidad Pedagógica of El Salvador where he is studying Education with a specialization in Natural Sciences. He lives at home with his mother, a homemaker and seamstress, as well as his maternal grandparents, uncle, and three siblings.  Wilman’s class schedule varies by day, some days he leaves home in the early morning and others around midday. He has to catch the public bus and ride two hours in San Salvador in order to arrive at the university. As soon as he gets home, he begins his lengthy list of homework and works until it grows dark.

Wilman’s original plan was to become an orthodontist, which seems fitting because he is always smiling. He is very passionate and upbeat, and takes up new hobbies (like the guitar) to keep himself from getting bored during school breaks.

We asked Wilman to answer a few questions to help you get to know him better. Below are his responses!

What are some of your professional aspirations?

I want to teach chemistry at the Universidad Pedagógica de El Salvador.

Why do you think your education is important?

My education allows me to help other people through workshops, to be a positive influence for other young people and to develop my own abilities.

Describe someone who has inspired or motivated you:

Professor Pedro Antonio Jovel because he often told us motivational stories. Getting to meet Jenna Pierce also motivated me because it made me realize that I’m capable of reaching my goals.

How has the crime/violence in this country affected you personally?

It affects me psychologically because every time I’m on the public bus, I just think of the likely possibility of being robbed or threatened. I used to be able to go freely to the park and play soccer, but I haven’t lately because the gang members have said they’ll be coming around our community more regularly. Whenever I hear about murders near my house or hear that someone I know has been killed, it really scares me and it’s all I can think about.

How do you think positive change can come about in your community or country?

A few things: Solid participation by parents in regards to how their children are raised; Teachers who really motivate their students and instill in them the desire to succeed; Regarding the gang violence, the implementation of the death penalty for certain criminals.

Tell us about your community service project.

I work with the Leadership School run by CIS [Center for Exchange and Solidarity]. Whatever I learn in school, I then teach it to my fellow scholarship students in workshops we hold. It’s important to me because it’s helping me develop the ability to speak in public and because it provides my classmates the opportunity to learn something from me.

What do you do in your free time?

I play soccer, watch romantic comedies and walk.

What is your favorite book or genre?

“The Richest Man in Babylon,” “On Wings of Eagles,” and “The Five Love Languages.”

What is your favorite music?

Salsa (Jerry Rivera, Eddy Santiago, Grupo Noche, Los Adolescentes, Mickey Taveras, etc.).

What are your best qualities?

I love to read, and I’m curious and extroverted.

What is something surprising about you that only a few people know?

I like to dance salsa when I’m home alone.  

What would you say if you could speak face-to-face with your sponsors?

If I had the chance to speak to my sponsors, I would ask them a lot of questions. I would also tell them it’s an immense feeling being able to see them and that I love them so much.