Moises Hernandez-Rivera was horrified to learn of the devastation in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, particularly in the rural farming section of the Island where his grandmother lives. He would love to one day help design environmentally sustainable farm systems in that area. As a landscape architecture major, he is interested in starting a business that focuses on environmentally conscious reclamation and revitalization of cities. Read more about Moises’s experiences as a UConn student.
What attracted you to UConn?
I was drawn to UConn by the rural setting, having grown up in the city of Bridgeport and not having much outdoor time really made me crave an authentic woodland experience.
Why did you choose your particular major?
Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in the concept of space colonization and through a long and winding journey, I finally found the field that will someday allow me to practice my dream of designing a city in space.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?
I think that my most memorable UConn activity was my involvement in the EcoHouse learning community. I made so many amazing and authentic friends through my learning community and we still go out together almost weekly.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies.
I am a student farmer at Spring Valley Student Farm, just five miles off campus. Having had the opportunity to live there since January 2018, I can say that it has been such a transformative experience for me and really allowed me to flourish in school knowing that I have a community, a home and an anchor to return to every day. Another experience would have to be working for four months at Eric Rains Landscape Architecture in South Norwalk this past summer. My time working there taught me that I am truly ready to work in this career, gave me a whole new set of skills and dimension to my work and perspective and showed me that I can produce work that is worth something regardless of what any student or professor thinks.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career?
My biggest challenge at UConn was adapting to not being in a city, everything from how quiet and dark nights were to how many bugs and wild animals were around. I felt really homesick my first two years because everything was so strange and new, but through deeper friendships I have a new family and home away from home!
When do you expect to graduate? What then?
I should be graduating this coming May! I am currently torn between entering the workforce of landscape architecture or attending grad school for either a master’s in landscape architecture, architecture, or both! I must say that this is truly a hard decision to make!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I was originally going to be working in the field of aquaculture, but everything changed when I enrolled in Exploring Diversity in Aquaculture, thanks to two high school teachers, now great friends of mine. They gave me the chance to tour aquaculture operations in Alabama, New England and Scotland in the UK. The experience gave me the wings and freedom to dream and allowed me to do some deep reflection and the courage to try out college and follow my crazy dream. That was one of the most important things that I have done in my life. I knew that if I were to fail in school, I could still be employed in the field of aquaculture and that I was free to pursue anything that I wanted.
Just this past spring I placed second in a national student design competition and received $1000 at the national student Landscape Architecture Conference (LABash2019)! The funny thing is that I thought that my design was not going to stand a chance, so I entered last second, literally five minutes before the deadline!
Overall my experience here has given me the courage to pursue what I want, to stand my ground, and has taught me my worth.