Hispanic Heritage Spotlight – Fidel Mireles
Fidel Mireles, admissions counselor/transfer specialist here at IU South Bend, was born and raised in Holland, Michigan and although his hometown was across the country from where his parents originally met in Texas, he grew up proudly celebrating his family’s roots.
“I grew up in a very diverse area, with cool mixes of everything there,” explains Fidel. His upbringing embodied the culture and traditions of both Texas and Mexico. “It’s a very unique blend, a subculture under the bigger umbrella.”
Although Fidel is not a fluent Spanish speaker, he can speak conversationally and is actively working to become more advanced, thanks to some big motivation in a small package: his two-year-old daughter. “I’m really embracing the language now that I’m older because I want my daughter to hear it and also embrace it and be proud of her culture,” says Fidel.
As part of Fidel’s role in the Office of Admissions helping transfer students and adult learners with their admission to the University, he is constantly meeting with new people, something he thrives on. “It’s such a diverse mix of individuals here, and I love everything about that.”
Fidel understands firsthand that educational journeys are not always linear, but the right support system can make a huge difference. After initially struggling in high school, he opted to pursue his GED at an alternative school. “I thought college was not an option for me, that I would immediately go into the workforce,” explains Fidel.
However, a teacher there believed in his potential, talked to Fidel about college, and convinced him he could go further with his education. After earning his GED, Fidel completed his associate’s degree at Grand Rapids Community College, and then spent nine years working at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland before going back to college and earning his bachelor’s degree in business management from Davenport University.
Fidel’s personal experience as both a transfer student and adult learner allows him to truly understand the challenges of the students he serves in the Office of Admissions, from not knowing how to start the application process to engaging in campus life. “I can relate to the struggles they face, and find it very rewarding that I can help them overcome it.”