Erim Gomez wants to make a career of mentoring. In his capacity as an instructor at WSU, he’s already well on the way to fulfilling his goal.
While he was at SOU, Erim took full advantage of the opportunities SOU had to offer. He worked as the co-director of the Ecological Center of the Siskiyous (ECOS) and at the aquatic ecology laboratory. He was also involved in the Latino Student Union. It was also through these groups that Erim developed his leadership skills and built relationships with students and faculty. “I liked that even though it was a small campus, there were a lot of opportunities to be involved. Being involved in the Latino Student Union was great to be able to meet other Latinos like myself and just connect with my culture and with my peers. Those people in the Latino Student Union are my best friends and the people that I still have contact with. ECOS had a big impact on me because it allowed me to develop as a leader. The work I did there made me realize that a small group of people can have a major influence in a local community.” Erim later joined SOU’s McNair Scholars program. Through the program, Erim learned not only about how to do academic research but also how to pursue and finance an advanced degree.
Erim is now helping students navigate their own education. At WSU, Erim is involved with a group called MECHA, which works for the empowerment of Chicano and Latino students. “One of the things that we do is we bring about 200 high school students every year to WSU and teach them about college. We work with them and mentor them. We try to show Latino and Chicano students what education is all about- that a college education is possible. SOU has been really influential. Because of that influence, I would like to think that I’ve had an impact on other students as well.”
Erim’s biological focus is on amphibian conservation. The Spade Foot Toad is his favorite species. He currently serves on the boards of the Society of Northwest Vertebrate Biology, as the Washington State Vice President, and the Bullit Foundation, which awards grants to conservation groups throughout the Northwest. Erim is also a board member of the SOU Alumni Association. In his free time, he is the advisor for WSU Latino Dance Club where he teaches Salsa.