Putting Down Roots of Change

Mizzou '39 honoree and passionate educator wants to create change from the ground up.

Avery Esquivel is beyond excited to be a teacher.

An Honors College senior and early childhood education major with a minor in leadership and public service, she is one of 39 Honors College seniors to win the Mizzou ’39 award.

Avery Esquivel portrait
Esquivel is an early childhood education major with a love for helping children and their families.

“I pursued education because I believe that if I want to change something, I need to start at the source,” Esquivel says. “To create a better future for other people, [what matters is] starting as early as you can, which is with the little ones and creating those habits of communication and fostering leadership.”

Esquivel is already dedicated to her career. She works as a student teacher during the week at Belair Elementary in Jefferson City.

“I love working with families,” Esquivel said. “They’re the foundation for the students I work with. Education is all about community.”

Esquivel cares about understanding the families she works with so much that she has pursued a multicultural certificate, accomplished through attending multicultural education classes. She has also dedicated a large portion of her college career to the American Sign Language (ASL) classes offered at Mizzou, as well as leading the ASL club. Esquivel does it all in pursuit of better communication with families and children different from her.

“I try to better myself in as many ways as I can so that way in the future it will be a connection for someone to better someone else,” Esquivel says. “Communication is important.”

Esquivel has worked hard at the Honors College, but it was a surprise to have been given this award.

“This award is an amazing culmination of spending a lot of time in and outside the Honors College, and it’s a humbling recognition,” Esquivel says. “[It’s great for me to] spread that light and the amazing things the Honors College does for me and other people.”

Esquivel has dipped her toe in many Honors College opportunities. She has worked in the Campus Writing Center, as an Associates Students of the University of Missouri legislative intern and Honors College ambassador.

“The Honors College has meant a lot to me,” Esquivel says. “It’s been amazingly constant throughout where I’ve been.”

“I’m still working at the Writing Center, which I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t taken my first-ever Honors class: The Theory of Tutoring,” Esquivel says. “I wouldn’t have grown in public speaking if I hadn’t been an Honors ambassador.”

Esquivel is also a student representative on the Honors Curriculum Committee. 

“All of these [engagements] have this domino effect,” Esquivel says. “I’ve grown from them.”

Even after classes have ended, Esquivel hopes to share what the Honors College has done for her in her life as a student.

“I get to speak at my graduation,” Esquivel says. “I hope to share my gratitude. I really hope I’ll be able to help celebrate what my graduating class has done and highlight [our] honor and the service.”