San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Senior Farewell: Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo

Photo courtesy of Aleyda Gerardo.

I can’t believe the time has finally come. I’m writing my senior farewell while I sit in my cubicle that I will soon be leaving and passing on to a fellow brilliant SDSU journalist.

Indelibly burned into my memory are those elementary school field trips to San Diego State where I, as a 10-year-old girl, thought, “I hope I come to this school one day.” Flash-forward 11 years later and now I’m graduating from it. What!?

College, like everything else in life, has been a rollercoaster with ups and downs. And, without a doubt, being the managing editor of The Daily Aztec has been the peak of this journey. It’s the moment of the ride when you could feel excitement overtaking your body, knowing that the path ahead would be nothing but chaos and enjoyment. Now, I’m overcome with emotion knowing that this roller coaster is coming to an end. I wish I could form the line again, but I know that other rides are waiting for me.

A new chapter in my life is about to begin, but before it does, I want to take a stroll down memory lane and share my appreciation for my time at SDSU.

When I transferred to San Diego State University in the fall semester of 2021, it was inevitable for me to try to find my place in the school and look for friends and groups that shared my interests. During the first week of the semester, I came in contact with the SDSU Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). Little did I know NAHJ would have such an enormous impact on my personal growth and career development.

I am eternally thankful for having the unique opportunity to grow within our student chapter, where I started as a member before being elected to lead the group as its president for the current academic year. In my professional life, NAHJ has opened a plethora of doors. By growing my network and getting to know so many accomplished journalists, I’ve been granted some incredible opportunities.

Through NAHJ SDSU, I covered Formula One news for Jeawok Media, wrote an opinion piece for the San Diego Union-Tribune, produced an article for CALÓ News, won a NAHJ San Diego-Tijuana scholarship, attended the 2022 NAHJ-NABJ Las Vegas summer convention and was offered an editorial internship with a Spanish-language automotive news site, Autoproyecto.

Balancing multiple responsibilities while simultaneously taking five to six classes was not a simple task, but I looked forward to every break I had in between classes to go to the Daily Aztec newsroom and hang out with my friends. You all had the ability to turn a bad day into a good one.

I also want to emphasize the phenomenal experience it has been to be a student at the Weber Honors College and the School of Communication. As someone who is constantly seeking to learn, I am grateful to the professors who have broadened my knowledge and perspective on a variety of subjects.

To my family — los amo y les agradezco todo el apoyo que me han dado durante estos años tan importantes de mi vida. Mami y Tato, especialmente a ustedes, gracias por siempre estar a mi lado y por animarme cuando me daban momentos de frustración y ansiedad debido a la escuela o el trabajo. Y a ti Malupita, gracias por siempre ser mi inspiración. Sin ustedes, realmente no me encontraría en donde estoy ahora.

Thank you Dr. Max Branscomb, my former Southwestern College journalism professor and everlasting mentor, for your encouragement and support throughout the course of my educational journey. Sunista for life!

Working with this year’s Daily Aztec staff has been an absolute pleasure. I have built amazing friendships and learned so much from these incredible people. I have truly cherished every single minute with them, from early morning meetings to 1 a.m. production nights in the newsroom.

So what’s next for me? I am pleased to share that I have been selected to be a part of the 2023 NAHJ Student Project team. This summer, I will travel to Miami, Florida for the NAHJ International Training Convention & Expo. Under the guidance of professional mentors, I will write, report, shoot and edit video, take photos, and cover events. I am beyond thankful and excited for this opportunity as the Student Project experience has helped past students obtain work in some of the top media outlets in the country.

After that, we’ll see what happens, but for now, DA Fam, I love you all! I will be forever proud of the work we accomplished together, but most importantly, grateful for the beautiful moments we shared.

In the words of Daniel Ricciardo, “No regrets, just memories.”

About the Contributor
Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo, Managing Editor
Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo (she/her/hers) is the current Managing Editor of The Daily Aztec. She is a transfer student from Southwestern College, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of El Sol Magazine XI and Associate Editor-in-Chief, Sports Editor and Campus Editor of The Southwestern College Sun Newspaper. Under her leadership both publications won prestigious national awards. She was raised a fronteriza and fell in love with writing while learning English in elementary school. She is the current President of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists SDSU Chapter and produces content in both English and Spanish. She has merged her passions for journalism and motorsports as she is an Editorial Intern at Autoproyecto and the Formula One Racing Columnist for She looks forward to bringing innovative ideas for delivering reliable and entertaining content for readers, as well as creating an inclusive and engaging work environment for the staff.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Senior Farewell: Xiomara Villarreal-Gerardo