Meet Edgar, a 2010 alumnus of the Maisin Scholar Award. Edgar graduated from The Art Institute of San Francisco with a Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Film and Video Production. Edgar is now a creative services freelancer and the founder of Robot Boy Productions.

Tell me about you, your family, and where you grew up.

My family and I moved to San Francisco from Mexico when I was seven years old. The Mission was home and I loved how much of my culture I could still relate to. I saw first-hand how both my parents migrated to this unknown land and day after day tried their best to achieve everything they have today and provide for their family. And I see this with many young Latinos striving to better themselves. Growing up was challenging because I didn’t speak English so expressing myself was difficult at times.

Were you a first-generation student? If so, how was that process for you?

I am a first-generation college graduate. Like many first-generation students, you are navigating uncharted territory and when your parents don’t understand the process, you rely on your external community to provide guidance. I’ll be honest, I didn’t do as much research as I should have, but that’s because I also didn’t understand what my options were. All I knew is that I needed to go to college, because that’s all I’ve ever been told. But there are so many different ways one can go; it does not have to be this linear road where you are in a 4-year college. There is community college, there is trade school, there are internships, there are many options available.

Where did you go to college? How did you know you wanted to be in your field now?

After high school, I went to San Francisco State University where I dropped out after two years. I was not able to get into the classes I wanted and I lost interest. As many young adults during this time realize, finding your way in the world is challenging and there are many layers on top of layers that sway you into making one choice or another. I was working 60+ hours per week for a pest control company at the time and I hated it. I knew that making videos was my passion, so I looked more into this. I enrolled myself into an art school – The Art Institute of San Francisco, and four years later, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Digital Film and Video Production.

I knew my passion for video making since high school, when I started making photo montages and videos of my younger sister. From the moment she was born, I wanted to document her journey in a creative way. When I would show these creations to my family, they often had strong emotional reactions to them. I realized that I enjoyed putting together these types of stories for my family. This allowed me to authentically express myself and connect with people. This was especially important to me because I had a hard time opening up during my adolescent and teenage years. Writing stories was a creative outlet for me when my family moved to the U.S. from Mexico and I was suddenly immersed in a completely different world and language. Creating projects like these allowed me to connect with folks in a way that I couldn’t before.

During my upbringing, I was also involved with some amazing organizations where I was exposed to a diverse set of participants, different ways of thinking, and just really awesome individuals. That’s why I started Robot Boy Productions. I knew that telling stories of the people and organizations in my community was what I wanted to do.

What advice would you give to other scholars going through college?

I would tell other folks to not compare yourself with other folks because everyone is on their own journey and things fall into place on their own time. I am in my early thirties and I feel like I am finally making progress in my career and am where I need to be. Getting here was challenging and there were many times I didn’t know what I was doing or when I would compare myself to other folks or question my journey. But trust the process, trust the journey. I also recommend networking as much as possible in whatever capacity you feel comfortable with because those connections come full circle.

To learn more about the Maisin Scholarship and how to get involved, please click here.