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Meet November's Humans of the U: Sharing compelling stories from the heart of the University of Utah campus.

“I was really attracted to zooarchaeology because it’s almost like a puzzle you know, like a mystery. We have this material record, but we have to try to find other clues to figure out what happened, why we see what we see.”

“I’m working with bird remains from a site called Homestead Cave. Owls have been living in that cave for 13,000 years…they would roost in there and throw up their pellets…So it’s a really fine grained record of [the birds] that these owls were eating, which in turn tells us what kind of things were living in that area for the past 13,000 years.”

“I think it’s neat that I can not only look at a record of birds that lived thousands of years ago and figure out what they are, but I can use that information to help conserve species that we see today.”

“Because we know what the environment was doing around that time, I can look at the bird record and see how that changed in relation to those things, and then apply that information to modern bird conservation.”

— Allison Wolfe, Anthropology graduate student in the University of Utah Zooarchaeology Laboratory

“I just got to speak to my biological father for the first time. I spent a lot of time fighting depression and feeling angry, abandoned and confused since I didn’t know much about him or why he left. My mom never told me much. I learned about true forgiveness at a church camp I went to and found peace with that lesson. I also found comfort in rap and hip-hop. From Wu-Tang to Kendrick, I felt connected by the music and the idea that there could be 100,000 people vibing to the same track I’m listening to and just feeling the energy of hip-hop. Without learning to forgive; without the soul that fires up in me through hip-hop; and without learning how to unconditionally love myself, the world and others, I would’ve ended myself a while ago. It turns out my father is 100 percent English, and I have three blood siblings, which hit me like a truck because I grew up a single child. He wants to visit from northern Illinois sometime soon, which I’m down for.”

— Noah Hughes, U student

“In 1986 my father passed away and left me his restaurant, the Rocky Mountain. I was still attending the U studying communication and art, so thankfully I had a great management staff to help me out. After I graduated in 1989, I started my own private security firm and still took care of the restaurant. As a favor, I opened a café in the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Building and ended up loving it. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with the students and providing them with a great meal at a cheap price. Four months ago, I sold the Rocky Mountain Grill, but decided to keep the café because I love it so much.”

— Bill Gomez, U staff

“After I finished my military service, I was kind of in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t know where to go, where to start again. I felt like I can’t speak English very well anymore, so I was really kind of afraid.

In my family it was all about numbers and money all the time. My father was an engineer and my brother is a stockbroker, so they never understood what I was trying to do. When I first told them that I wanted to do social work, they were disappointed in me.

But my family started to get curious about what I was studying. They see I learn how to respect individuals and how individuals are important to our society. They now are supportive, calling and asking how school is doing. Every time I feel like I’m down or am sad, I read what my dad wrote to me: ‘One gets seasick from looking at what is right in front of him. Look hundreds of kilometers ahead. There, it is calm like the gentle waves. Therefore, as I watch it now here today and because of that reason, I do not worry at all.”

— Hyeonwoo Jacob Lee, social work student at the Utah Asia Campus

[bs_well size=”md”]We’ll be featuring Humans of the U and sharing their stories throughout the year with the university community. If you know someone with a compelling story, let us know at[/bs_well]