Humans of the U: Lindberg Heitmann

“My experience at the University of Utah has been a turning point for which I will be forever grateful. As a student here, I learned to appreciate myself by what makes me unique. I realized that it doesn’t matter that I am an older undergrad, a gay man and a first-generation Brazilian immigrant with an accent. What has truly counted here are my qualities, dedication and abilities.

Education has always been my priority, but obstacles made it difficult for me to focus solely on my studies. At age 12, I started working at a neighborhood bakery to help my mother. I divided my time between work and school and had a very tight schedule, going to school in the mornings and working the rest of the day, including weekends. As a result, I had to postpone going to school several times. Each time I had to postpone this goal, I faced two choices: abandon my educational ambitions or keep going. I chose to always work through the challenges and obstacles I encountered

A little over a decade ago, I started my bachelor’s degree at another university, but I withdrew out of fear of being caught in a homosexual relationship and expelled. More than 10 years later, I decided to return to school, and I am so glad I came to the U. It was a long and arduous road but  I could not be more proud or excited than now. I will turn 40 this month.

This fall, I will pursue an Ed.M. at Harvard Graduate School of Education. I want to take the skills I have learned in my undergrad and help marginalized and underserved students take advantage of educational opportunities.  I want to be an ally to underserved populations and help break the segregation cycle. I would like to make others’ paths easier than mine.”

—Lindberg Heitmann, Class of 2022, B.A. in International Studies, minor in economics, College of Humanities