OME Welcomes Maurico Novoa as New Assistant Director
By Sydney Dyer, Staff Writer
Mauricio Novoa is the new assistant director at the Office of Multicultural Engagement (OME) and started at the beginning of this semester. Having graduated from Gettysburg College in 2014, Novoa has returned to campus to turn his work toward helping current students with the OME’s programming and outreach.
As the assistant director of OME, Novoa oversees all the programming for first-generation students and assists in planning other programs at the OME, such as upcoming events for Black History Month and Women’s History Month. OME frequently collaborates with other offices on programming while also supporting students. The office also contributes to the first-year orientation process every fall and runs numerous other resources such as the Mosaic Cupboard and the Myra T. Herron Fund.
Novoa majored in English with a writing concentration and was a member of the Latin American Student Association when he was on campus. Originally from the Washington D.C. metro area in Maryland, Novoa described that moving to the Gettysburg community was a social adjustment that took time to get used to, especially as it was his first time attending a predominantly white institution. He was able to receive support from and get involved with the Intercultural Resource Center, which was the office that originally combined OME and International Student offices.
According to Novoa, the office has changed drastically over the years since his graduation due multiple reasons. It has separated into its own office, and now resides in the same building as the Mosaic House, which now hosts events and provides space for students. With a rise in diversity in the student body came a movement within the college administration to be more intentional in providing services to students from different ethnic backgrounds. For example, none of the first-generation student programming existed during Novoa’s time as a student at Gettysburg, which he now runs the programming for. He is enthusiastic about these changes, as current students are more aware of the resources provided to them by the OME compared to the lower student awareness of the office from his time as a student.
After his time in college, Novoa worked several jobs, including at the after-school program in Adams County, targeted towards high school students of migrant families. He then moved to Austin, Texas where he spent most of his stay working at a public library for several years but found himself returning to the Adams County area. After briefly working nearby at HACC, Novoa knew he wanted to apply to OME when the job opportunity arose.
“It made me want to come back and pay it forward to them,” Novoa said, referring to the students. He wants to help the students at his alma mater adjust to the school by being the support he needed during his time here as a student. He is looking forward to further interactions with students, being a continuous resource on campus and working to address issues and programming that have remained relevant since his time at Gettysburg.
As far as his goals for the future, Novoa said he is testing the waters to see what students need from him and the OME to decide what direction to take next, for right now he is just seeing “what [his] role can be.” He said he wants to be open to the numerous possibilities that the students could need, even mentioning how the skills acquired from his English degree help at events catered to such interests if students need them. However, he explained that his focus now is on adjusting into his new position and rejoining the community, so that he may ultimately give back to the students of his community.
This article originally appeared on page 12 of the February 2023 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.