Student Spotlight: Gastón Ocampo

Ocampo during a research trip to Tunisia.

Gastón Ocampo, an International Relations and Business Administration double major who came to Roanoke from Argentina, was featured as a 2020 graduate in a recent edition of Horizons, the newsletter of the Office of International Education. He was also the Public Affairs Department’s Howard Warshawsky International Relations Award recipient this year. It is likely you have heard his name, as his involvement on campus was quite far-reaching.

Ocampo was the co-founder and president of the International Club, chairman of the Public Affairs Society, and both treasurer and vice president of the Honors Program. Additionally, he was a student assistant with Dr. Rubongoya and lead research assistant with Dr. O’Keef in the Public Affairs Department.

Ocampo studied socioeconomic issues in Africa and Latin America, and he was able to publish his research in one book and three academic journals. As chairman of the Public Affairs Society, he organized lectures on political questions and domestic and international issues. Ocampo’s work with the International Club helped to bridge international and local communities and cultures to bring awareness about global issues on campus.

His relationships with Dr. Rubongoya, Dr. O’Keef, and Judi Pinckney were among the highlights of his Roanoke career. “They not only believed in me and exposed me to amazing opportunities during the past four years, but they also encouraged me to continue working hard and fighting for my dreams,” he said. Ocampo explained that his research in Turkey and Tunisia with Dr. O’Keef, his May Term trip to Uganda with Dr. Rubongoya, and his walks and lunches with Judi were all particularly special to him. “There is an implicit understanding about the difficulties of living in a foreign country that can be sensed when interacting with them which I really appreciate– they are examples of what I dream to achieve during my professional career and personal life.”

With support from the Office of International Education, Ocampo was able to create a video, “I Am an Immigrant,” with fellow student Snigdha Somani. He said it “was a momentous way to crown the initiatives that my fellow international students and I tirelessly worked for during these past four years – all of which would have definitely not been possible without the constant support of Carmen [Boggs-Parker], Pam [Serota-Cote], and Toni [Fazzler].”

Next up after graduation, Ocampo has plans for a job here in the US, then following up with a master’s degree in Europe or Southeast Asia so he can “continue fighting for the betterment of the underprivileged people of the Americas.” He left some words of wisdom for incoming students. “Take advantage of every single opportunity that Roanoke has to offer. In times when fewer international students can pursue an education in the US, it is our duty to represent our international backgrounds the best way we can.”

Casey Wilson
Contributing Writer