Learning to love higher education

Unsure of what to do after high school, Orlando Guerrero toured Mizzou and realized college was his next venture.

Dec. 11, 2023
Contact: Deidra Ashley, ashleyde@missouri.edu

Rural Missourian and first-generation student Orlando Guerrero didn’t always think he’d go to college. But after touring The University of Missouri as a high schooler, the El Dorado Springs native not only decided college was for him — he found his academic home.

Guerrero arrived at Mizzou in 2019, became a member of the Heartland Scholars Academy in the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business and quickly found a support system that would help him face some of his biggest challenges yet. This support, coupled with Guerrero’s tenacity and drive, have helped him secure a job working as a sales representative with General Mills in Minnesota.

Read on for a Q&A with Guerrero about his Mizzou experience.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

Before I visited Mizzou, I wasn’t even sure if I liked the idea of higher education. I came to tour with my girlfriend  — now wife — and fell in love with campus and the environment at the Trulaske College of Business. This excitement wasn’t really a feeling I had had before since I’m the first person in my family to go to college … I just fell in love with Mizzou.

How did you become a Heartland Scholar, and how did that impact your experience at Mizzou? 

When I toured campus, I was almost immediately greeted by Mary Beth Marrs and members of the Heartland Scholars Academy. They were very welcoming and shared information about a ton of hands-on experiences, including trips to corporate bases to see how things actually work in the industry. I became a Heartland Scholar, which helped me meet CEOs of important and successful companies, along with a lot of new people who are also first-generation college students.

What’s your favorite Mizzou memory?  

My favorite Mizzou memories are all of my experiences in the Heartland Scholars Academy. The group gave me so many opportunities and support. I can think of many times where things were really hard for me, and Mary Beth Marrs and Stacy Rohr (from the program) pushed me upward and helped me through everything.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in coming to Mizzou?

If you're interested in coming to Mizou, I’d 100% encourage you to come. Here, you can become anything you want — there are endless opportunities and people who are willing to help you no matter what.

What’s next for you?

After graduation, I will be going up to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I will be a sales representative for General Mills.

Story written by Pate McCuien

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