Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio (BA ’22)—Student Activist

Mission to create change drives student's passion

TWU student Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio

If student activism had a name, it would be Fiama Villagrana-Ocasio.

Fiama came to Texas Woman’s University last year with an initial goal to become a bilingual audiologist. That quickly changed.

“I found that by being able to create change systematically, I could make an impact on a broader scale instead of on an individual level,” she said, explaining why she is now majoring in political science with Spanish/philosophy minors and plans to go to law school. “Being a voice for many people in my community pushed me to learn more about different challenges others may face that are different than mine.”

Already, Fiama is making a difference at TWU. She serves as an Andrew Goodman Foundation Vote Everywhere Campus Leader, an academic support assistant for TWU’s campus housing, a student assistant for the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy, and a member of the President’s Leadership Council. She does this while paying for the majority of her education herself through work and scholarships, with a goal to be debt-free when she graduates from TWU.

Most recently, she was named a Texas Civic Ambassador, part of a prestigious program that provides opportunities for college students destined for civic leadership. As an ambassador, Fiama is creating a community-organizing initiative that promotes options to become civically engaged “beyond the polls.”

“People who cannot vote for various reasons need to know their voices and concerns matter,” Fiama said. “People can call their representatives, volunteer, protest and push for change wherever they can.”

Fiama’s passion for activism and community service started before she came to TWU. As a high school senior, she noticed her school did not hold a moment of silence for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, as it had done previously for hurricanes Irma in Florida and Harvey in Texas previously. She emailed her principal to set up a meeting.

“I explained to her that though I did appreciate the recognition of important events and making sure students kept these matters in mind, it’s important to be inclusive, since my school was so diverse,” Fiama said. “The people of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens, so they deserved a moment of silence too.”

As a result of this meeting, Fiama got a sponsorship from the H-E-B grocery chain and received permission to sell popsicles at her school to raise funds to send to Puerto Rico. The money helped people living in the rural parts of Puerto Rico who didn’t have immediate access to the government help available in more urban areas.

Growing up in Houston, Fiama had great support from her Puerto Rican mother and her Mexican father, who are both educators. From them, she learned about the power of knowledge and the importance of family and culture.

“My family is one of the reasons why I do what I do, especially my parents,” she said. “Finding pieces of my culture that reflect who I am has helped me grow prideful in my Latinx identity and work to aid my community in any way.”

Page last updated 5:00 PM, September 28, 2020