Professor works to help Costa Rican student achieve dreams at Baylor

By Julia Lawrenz | Broadcast Reporter

Sometimes, student-professor friendships go above and beyond the classroom setting. In the case of Costa Rica freshman Bryan Lizano and Dr. Randy Wood, professor in the School of Education, this pair has known one another since Lizano was in fifth grade.

Wood has taken part in the annual Baylor mission trip to Costa Rica for more than 10 years, where students and faculty alike travel south to serve. It was on one of these trips that Lizano and Wood first met, and their bond eventually led to Lizano’s attendance at Baylor this year.

“Through his elementary school years, it was fun to get to see him every year in March when I’d go with the students,” Wood said.

Lizano’s parents were Nicaraguan refugees. Three years after Lizano was born, his family fled from Nicaragua to Costa Rica.

As Lizano grew older, he said he also became more serious about about coming to Baylor when he was finished with high school. As a Nicaraguan citizen, he wouldn’t have been able to come to a university in the United States, so he said he began the long process of becoming becoming a Costa Rican citizen and getting a student visa.

After all of his hard work, Lizano was recognized as one of the top 25 students in all of Costa Rica. Because of his accomplishments, he said he was able to be a part of Educate USA, which is a scholarship program for students such as Lizano.

“He’s a smart student, and he’s one that’s going to do well here,” Wood said. “We anticipate what he does here will make a contribution somewhere in the world.”

Unfortunately, the scholarship from Educate USA did not cover all of the necessary funds that the college experience requires. Wood said he then sprung into action and helped start a GoFundMe to lessen the financial burden on Lizano and his family.

Up until this past July, Lizano was worried he wouldn’t have the necessary funds to come to Baylor. However, the Baylor community, led by Wood, came together and made it happen.

Lizano is the first student from his high school to come to a university in the United States. He is a computer science major, and he said his goal is to work hard and make not only himself and Wood proud, but also his family back home.