Photo: Lee Pellegrini
Augustin P. Rac | Carroll School of Management
Hometown: Worcester, Mass.
Majors: Marketing; concentration in marketing and management leadership
Notable Activities/Achievements: Founder of New Generation Digital Marketing Agency; Early College Program mentor, Worcester State University; PULSE volunteer at Action for Boston Community Development; facility supervisor, Margot Connell Recreation Center; participant in case competitions organized by the Real Estate Club and the Corcoran Center for Real Estate and Urban Action.
Post-Graduation Plans: Area manager, Amazon.com, Syracuse, N.Y.; M.B.A. or graduate studies.
More: A Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Dell Scholar, Rac began his journey to a Boston College degree in 2013, when the 17-year-old left his hometown in Guatemala for the United States in a small group of about a dozen migrants. Near the U.S.-Mexico border, Rac was found by immigration authorities and placed in a detention center. He was later sent to live with a foster family in Worcester, who helped him to finish his high school degree. In addition to working part-time, launching his own business, and working with community organizations as an undergraduate, Rac completed the requirements for citizenship and became a U.S. citizen last November.
What was it like to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen?
It was emotional. Becoming an American citizen is not easy; it is a privilege. I look back at my journey and I think “This is crazy.” I am so happy for everything I’ve accomplished and coming to Boston College, now graduating. There are a lot of blessings. God has opened the door for me. Everything is up to God.
What was your journey to the United States like?
I left my home country alone, seeking a better life. Unfortunately, the vast desert landscape caused us to become lost. We were walking for three days and three nights with very little water, trying to arrive in the United States. After being found by border patrol, as a minor, I was eligible to seek asylum, and ended up in foster care through the Ascentria Care Alliance in Massachusetts. I had a lot of family support from my wonderful Puerto Rican U.S. family, the Encarnacion-Rivera household. They really believed in me, accepted me, my culture and all that I am, pushing me to be successful. Despite the opportunities that became available to me, it was never easy as a young, brown, indigenous immigrant. This is why I am so grateful to my family in Worcester, and my family back in Guatemala who have helped me navigate this path I’ve taken.
Which faculty or staff have had the biggest influence on you as an undergraduate?
Many faculty have helped me. My Portico professor [Assistant Professor of the Practice] Michael Smith is a great person. Just the way he taught us impacted my life as a whole. [Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center Director] Fr. Michael Davidson, S.J., is someone you can always talk to. I am grateful to [Assistant Professor of the Practice] Juan Montes, my advisor. He is from Chile and we were able to connect and I would share my story with him. I enjoyed his class and the way he teaches. I also go to Jessica Hartley a lot in the CSOM career office. She has helped me seek internships, work on cover letters, anything related to my career. She has been so helpful.
My time here has been challenging, which has rewarded me numerous skills through working hard and tenaciously with graduation as my end goal. My life in Guatemala did not provide me with the academic opportunity that I have here now. That is what drove me to succeed at the Carroll School. I have used all my past struggles to motivate me and move forward.
What about your BC experience has changed you the most?
My participation in PULSE had a big impact on my life. It serves a lot of low-income and underrepresented residents. Coming from a poor country like Guatemala, I can relate. I can see the pain. I like to help people. It is hard not to have the things you want because the circumstances you go through limit your opportunities. As human beings, to be able to survive, we need to help each other. If you succeed in something, you have to help someone else along the way. That is the way I carry myself in life now. I feel like I got that from PULSE. It feels good to help people. It has made me think about my life in terms of helping others.
Tell us about the company you created.
New Generation Digital Marketing Agency is a side hustle that I started when I went home to Worcester because of the pandemic. I started a company focused on social media marketing for small businesses, like restaurants. I help promote businesses on Instagram and Facebook with graphics and postings. I worked with Worcester State University as a social media consultant/manager for a COVID-19 project called Protegete Latino Encontra del Coronavirus. I developed ideas, and created and released content on social media to create a program that releases information about COVID that reaches underserved communities. I promoted it and got it to a certain level. The program is still going on right now.
What will you miss most about Boston College?
I will miss my friends and the beautiful Boston College campus. I am a social person and I like hanging out with my friends. I feel like we were all able to be authentic with each other. Everybody is going to different places now. But we will be able to see each other in the future. You have experiences that shape you as a person, you learn from different people. They learn from you, you learn from them. It is a learning community here.
The distance—physical, intellectual, spiritual—that you’ve traveled these past eight years seems remarkable. How do you look at that journey?
It has been a crazy journey. But I am here. I am alive. That is what I am grateful for. I believe God has guided me and protected me and because of Him, I am here right now. We will see what He has in store for me in the future.
Ed Hayward | University Communications | May 2021