Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Ayala Family
Anthony Ayala BA ’18 and his family have a special relationship with Indiana University South Bend. His father Bryan BS ’05 and his mother Brenda BS ’17 are alumni, and his sibling Reagan Ayala is next in line to graduate in 2024. Younger sister Malliene is ready to begin her IU South Bend degree in the fall of 2023.
Anthony was born in Texas and moved to Indiana with his family when he was five years old. He was the typical all-American kid: his favorite foods were hotdogs and pizza; his favorite pastime was video gaming. So he was surprised when he first heard a derogatory term for Latino immigrants in middle school. He didn’t feel any different than his classmates, however hearing that provided the opportunity to reflect on his heritage, culture, and his family’s drive to improve their lives through education. Growing up, he was motivated as both his parents worked hard to support their family by returning to school to earn their degrees. Bryan eventually became the northwest region’s representative to the Latino Alumni Association and both he and Brenda welcomed numerous foster children to their family. This service to others and love of community were an inspiration to all the Ayala children
As Anthony neared high school graduation, he briefly considered another public university. Several scorched frying pans—the result of his mom’s efforts to teach him how to fry an egg—convinced him that he needed to learn how to be more self-reliant and he realized that he “wasn’t really prepared for that” at that stage in his life. IU South Bend was the obvious choice for him.
He would be able to stay connected to family, earn a valuable degree, and continue the family tradition.
Some of Anthony’s fondest memories during his four years at IU South Bend were joining the Communication Club and working with The Preface on features and stories relevant to college life. Anthony also was a student professional on campus, honing his graphic design skills as the social media point person for the Titan Success Center.
These college experiences, combined with his Bachelor of Arts with a major in mass communications, a concentration in journalism, and minor in integrated new media studies, landed Anthony a part-time video editing position at WSBT. In 2021 he advanced to the role of part-time editor for Hometown Living, a lifestyle show. More recently, Anthony was promoted to a full-time position as the newscast editor.
Anthony wants to thank the IU South Bend faculty who care, mentor, and support students throughout their college journeys. He is grateful for the high-quality education that enables him and others to, “realize their full professional potential.” The solid preparation that he received at IU South Bend created the opportunity for him to represent his alma mater in the competitive field of broadcast journalism.
Asked what guidance Anthony would share with other Latinx students, he shared two key pieces of advice. “Don’t be afraid to visit your professors during their office hours,” he said. Those key relationships will provide networking and career opportunities.
“Don’t think that just because Latinos are not visible in roles that you would like to be in that you won’t be able to end up in the career that you want!”