BIC Admissions Analyst departs BIC office for graduate school after six years

Diana Castillo served in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core department for six years. Photo courtesy of Diana Castillo.

By Shelby Peck | Staff Writer

After approximately six years of being in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core department, Diana Castillo, BIC admissions analyst, is saying goodbye to her role to pursue her dreams of becoming a social worker.

After many days of cheerfully greeting the BIC students who came into the Morrison Hall offices for their advising appointments, Castillo said she realized she needed some balance in her life.

“I needed to change a lot of things in my own life to adjust and be healthy with boundaries,” Castillo said.

Although her role in the BIC office did not begin until 2017, Castillo’s journey has kept her at Baylor since her undergraduate years.

“I decided to take that leap of faith because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing. I told God, ‘OK, I am going to have you provide,’” Castillo said.

Castillo said she learned about BIC during her freshman orientation, even though she had no idea what it was.

“It is one of the best decisions I made at Baylor,” Castillo said. “It challenged me in a lot of hard but good ways.”

As an International Studies major, Castillo said she was able to study abroad in France and become a Community Leader for the Global Living and Learning Community at North Russell Hall, also known as Baylor and Beyond.

Castillo’s undergraduate career path also provided her connections with the BIC faculty.

“It was during my senior recognition banquet that [Dr. Melanie Nogalski] asked, ‘Are you interested in working full time with us?’” Castillo said.

Castillo also said she wanted to be a support system for students throughout their transition to Baylor because BIC had been a great support for her.

“We just need someone to listen to our story,” Castillo said.

The Woodlands senior Uche Oguchi said she met Castillo during her freshman year and has since visited her in the BIC office almost weekly.

“She has a lot of wisdom that shapes me as a person,” Oguchi said. “She is a light in that office.”

Oguchi also said during some of her hardest weeks at Baylor, Castillo would receive her with open arms and offered a listening ear.

“She encourages me and motivates me to keep going,” Oguchi said.

Austin sophomore Carl Friesenhahn, a student-worker at the BIC office, said when students enter and are distressed about classes or life as a college student, Castillo is the first one there to greet them and give them a hug.

“She’s always a smiling face and ready to help you with whatever you need,” Friesenhahn said. “She has words of encouragement that could change someone’s college career.”

As Castillo began her role, Baylor implemented a new admissions system. Her position developed into the roles of counselor and admissions analyst.

“I’m a learner at heart,” Castillo said. “I took the first year of the job as an opportunity to learn and, over the years, I realized ways I could jump in.”

In 2020, Castillo attended preview day for Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and realized it was where she was meant to be.

“I understood what it was like to start school during a pandemic, transferring from class in-person to virtual,” Castillo said. “I got to experience a lot of the same things as the students.”

After transitioning her position in the BIC office to full time in 2021, Castillo said she had too much to balance.

“I had a minimum of 16 hours of internship, plus three classes, plus a full-time job,” Castillo said.

Something had to change in her life, she said, and so that led her to decide to take only one class during the fall of 2022.

“[BIC staff] were really supportive, and that was a huge relief — that people understood it was good to take care of yourself,” Castillo said.

As she departs the BIC office, Castillo said she plans to take one class this spring, transition to being a full-time student in the fall and graduate in May 2024.

She said she hopes to participate in the clinical side of social work, assisting physicians in assessing if a patient’s physical ailments are actually signs of psychological distress.

Castillo said it has been a blessing to walk students throughout their Baylor journey from before their admission to the day of their graduation.

“I get to see the student journey from the very beginning to the very end,” Castillo said. “There’s not a lot of jobs in which you get to do that.”