In 2019, soon after he arrived on campus as a member of the Class of 2023, Javier Mazariegos was selected to ceremoniously receive the class pin at Freshman Convocation. “There I was in the great Basilica, standing with President [John] Garvey in front of all my classmates and faculty, and he leans over and asks me if I know his grandson who is a student at the high school I attended in Maryland. I couldn’t believe he took the time to learn about me in advance, and that he was having a conversation with me in that moment.”

In the spring semester of his first year, Mazariegos, now a junior with majors in philosophy and English, enrolled in Garvey’s course on the virtues. “I was intrigued by taking a class taught by the University President, and was interested in the topic as well.” 

It was in the course, he recalls, that he got the first idea that the pandemic might have an impact on his college career. “It was right before spring break in March 2020 and President Garvey had us test Zoom in case we needed it later in the semester. I don’t think we took it too seriously at the time. Little did we know,” he says. 

The COVID-19 pandemic would be a defining factor in the college careers of students the world over. “I’ve pretty much handled it one semester at a time,” says Mazariegos. “And I’ve tried to call on my faith to stay positive. Part of that has meant going back to the essentials of a college education. I’m here to study things I really love. And I’ve been able to do that quite effectively both in a virtual environment and in masks and adhering to other protocols in the classroom."

"I love the reading and exploration of the questions posed by the great philosophers."

— Javier Mazariegos

When Mazeriegos decided to become a resident assistant this academic year, he had the pandemic in mind. “It put obstacles in the way of personal connections. I think in general people are feeling a bit isolated. I see RAs as being on the front lines of helping students build community. Right now it’s easier to be in one’s room and on a screen. Residence life might look a little different, but it’s flourishing. And I’m really proud to be part of the RA team that is rising to the current challenge.”

Mazariegos was interested in Catholic University for the D.C. experience and because of the excellent reputation of the School of Philosophy. “I love the reading and exploration of the questions posed by the great philosophers,” he says. “While taking a core curriculum literature course, I found that the English Department here is quite wonderful and decided the English major would be a great complement to my philosophy studies.”

In addition to his role as an RA, Mazariegos is editor in chief of Inventio, the student-run research journal; president of the Philosophy Club; a tutor in the Writing Center; and a member of Cardinals for Life. He also is working as a research assistant with the Department of Sociology on a Templeton Religion Trust-funded grant to study beauty and wonder in science.

“Catholic University is a special place and I’ve wanted to get as involved as possible during the short time I have here,” he says. Community is what defines his campus experience. “I’ve made excellent friends in all grades and majors. And the professors are gems who care about their students and are great teachers and scholars. This is simply an open and welcoming and cheerful place.”