1. I am a Siena College HEOP Graduate, Class of 2005. Being a 1st generation student, I had a huge burden on my shoulders to make sure I laid a strong foundation for my family to understand college is a viable option after high school. Where I am from, college is seen as a privileged idealistic concept far from being an expectation. So while a student here, I NEEDED to graduate, not for me, but for generations succeeding me!
2. I was born and raised in the Bronx. Being from the city, I wore it as a badge of honor. It represented so much more to myself, friends and family that not only did a kid from the Bronx get accepted to a prestigious private school, but EXCELLED by cementing himself within the Siena community and culture.
3. I thrive when collaborating with others. While at Siena, I was part of the SEB, ASA, BLSU, Fall Fusion and Spring Expose production teams, basketball intramurals and mentorship. I even choreographed and danced at Fall Fusion (someone look for the VHS for proof). The great Jack Nicholson said in his role as Frank Costello in the movie The Departed: “I wouldn't say I am a product of my environment; I want my environment to be a product of me.” I LOVE Siena but wanted to leave my mark and make it a better place through inclusivity and diversity than when I stepped foot on campus back in 2001. Simply put, I will never conform… rather I will TRANSFORM my community and those I have the privilege of having dialogue with.
4. Family, Family, Family. I hold them near and dear to my heart. I am a proud father and was lucky enough to get engaged to a fellow Siena alumnus (class of 2013), Stephanie Trichilo, who I met in 2017. I am sincere and want to go on record saying she literally changed my life. When I met her, I was at a weird time in life where self-reflection can sometimes cause doubt on the road to come. Not only did she welcome me as I was, she led me to understand myself better as a human being… she has even seen my “ugly cry” and is still around. It is because of her that I now understand that a life partner is not what someone can do for you, rather It is what you can do together to grow as a family. My kids… man, I love them but they are EXPENSIVE. We will leave it at that.
5. I am JOKESTER. I take great joy in being able to put smiles on people’s faces. Plus, I am a believer that you burn the most calories when you laugh so I guess it’s a self-sustaining health regimen. Also, you can use laughter in so many ways. You can laugh when you are sad, happy, crying, nervous or when someone is testing your nerves (like my kids… jk I love them. You can fact check this in number 4).
6. HIP HOP has played a tremendous part in my life. It’s engulfed in inner city culture and is a worldwide language if you will. It was even created in the Bronx. There is a certain aurora about using rhythm, words, experience, places and putting them together to create a cohesive artistic messages. It is because of this I gravitated towards writing music, from Rap, R&B, Christian Rap to pop. My favorite part of the writing process is hearing an instrumental for the first time and seeing where it takes me in my life… then its pen to paper where metaphors, similes and what we call in the hip hop world “bars” take life. Hey, if not someone then something has to change this world and bring us together… MUSIC IS THAT LINK! It is a cross cultural phenomenon that breaks all barriers. (Watch Miguel perform his Untold Story!)
7. I have such a strong passion for cooking. I take pride in putting smiles on faces through delicious food. There is nothing like a home-cooked meal. What makes it even more powerful is the dialogue you share with your family and friends while at the dinner table. It’s as if the table is symbolic for togetherness and gathering. Some of the best or spicy conversations happen when dining. Cooking is a form of internal expression. Simply put, if the food tasted horrible, it probably means that person didn’t think highly of you and used cooking to tell you (lol). Conversely, if it was delicious… they loved you (at least in my home). It’s a representation of the time taken to get to know someone when fostering/nurturing relationships. The cook takes that same time to ensure your meal is memorable (although I love me some Taco Bell brochaho!)
8. I love playing basketball. Your style of play is a representation of your swag. Being from the City, my swag is on 1000%, so my game shows it (that was so cool to say). I still play in recreational leagues throughout the Capital Region. I have played in many known tournaments such as The Rucker, Dyckman, Kingdom, Gun Hill Classic, Watson Classic, Chelsea Piers Amateur and currently playing in a tournament at the local Armory. My “hezi” is crazy! Do not guard me too closely or you will end up on YouTube (lol). I love watching my kids play. Yes, I became the crazy obnoxious parent on the sidelines yelling at the refs because my baby didn’t get a call.
9. I am a proud owner of two dogs. Bella is a Shihpoo (Shih Tzu, Poodle mix) and Jax who is a Pomsky (Pomeranian, Husky mix). I love them more than Stephanie and my kids combined. They sleep, eat, play and watch movies with me. They can do no wrong in my eyes. You will see me on campus with them. Feel free to say hi as they love humans. Oh, and if Stephanie tries to hug me when Bella is around, it becomes a major fight.
10. I am PROUDLY FALLIBLE! I am perfectly imperfect. I battled anxiety/depression over the years and want to use this platform to say IT IS OK. It's ok to doubt yourself, be nervous/anxious, not understand your feelings, stress, be uncertain, fear or worry about life. What is not healthy is not doing anything about it and letting your fear of the future unknown debilitate and prevent you from enjoying the present. You must self-identify what’s preventing you from launching and seeing the world through YOUR view, not what society conditions us on how and what to feel. The best version of you… is YOU! Have faith in yourself and do not place validation in others. Faith makes things possible, not easy. Your story needs to be heard and told because there is someone on this very campus who might have been through your similar story or afraid to tell anyone they are in the midst of the storm. Let Siena be the eye of the Storm as that small view of hope will be enough to see the next step in front of you which will guide you to peace, community and success. Someone has to change the world. Ask yourself, WHY NOT YOU?