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Andrew Figueroa

Hometown: : Irvine, CA

Andrew Figueroa came to Hampshire because he was looking for "something really different."

Andrew Figueroa

Division II: Theater, hip-hop, and Latino studies

Andrew Figueroa 10F came to Hampshire because he was looking for "something really different," he says. "I wanted the complete opposite {of a traditional education}."

Figueroa, whose mother also attended Hampshire in the 1970s, is wrapping up his Division II project after the fall 2013 semester. He studied theater, hip-hop, and Latino studies. "I studied performance through theater and hip-hop, and did independent studies on spoken word and dance, to see where they all correlate," he says.

Dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Associate Professor of Theatre Djola Branner has been an inspiration for Figueroa's studies. "He's my guiding force, during my entire Division II and, potentially, my Division III," Figueroa says.

For his Division III (senior) project, Figueroa envisions a hip-hop opera, complete with a live band onstage. "The theme of the opera would be mixed race and Latino identity," he says. "I wrote a series of hip hop and spoken word pieces {about that topic} for an independent study last fall," Figueroa says, adding that those pieces are starting to form the basis for his forthcoming Division III.

Figuero credits Wilson Valentin-Escobar, associate professor of sociology and American studies, with "introducing me to Latino studies and helping me critically look at my own identity in this country, and inspired me to create ways to express that identity," he says.

In addition to his academic endeavors, Figueroa pursues music with his band, FIG and a Little Inappropriate, also featuring current Hampshire students and alums. Figuero describes the band as a mix of hip-hop and funk. "Last semester we played shows every weekend," he says. The band is currently working on finishing a group of recordings done at the end of the Spring 2013 semester.

Figueroa's favorite part of campus life is the feeling of constant engagement.

"There's always something to do, something academic like a lecture or a dialogue, a workshop, something social, presentations, performances, and shows."


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