Student Spotlight


Carter Steger, Assistant Editor

Patricia Rivera Torres is a senior at Viterbo university. Rivera Torres is majoring in theatre and minoring in religious studies, and will graduate at the end of the spring 2023 semester. Throughout her time at Viterbo, Rivera Torres has been able to grow and set herself up for future success.  

Though she goes to school and lives in Wisconsin, Rivera Torres started elsewhere. Rivera Torres says, “I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and I grew up in Guaynabo. My family and I moved to Wisconsin when I was five. So, I’ve grown up in Wisconsin basically my whole life.” 

Initially, Rivera Torres majored in Religious Studies when she first attended Viterbo. It was sophomore year when the big switch happened. Rivera Torres says, “I actually decided to switch to theater because I felt like a part of myself wasn’t being fulfilled. Because I did everything theater and music, in middle school through high school, and then I just kind of dropped it all when I got to college.”  

The love and appreciation Rivera Torres has for theatre is special to her. Rivera Torres explains, “I knew I was not going to act. That’s not really my thing anymore. But I still wanted to be involved because I love everything about dramaturgy, the history, and the context of what things are done and why.” Striving to pursue theatre, but without an emphasis on acting or singing, presented Rivera Torres with some challenges. “We don’t really have as much dedicated to scenic design, prop work, or stage management due to them either not being offered as majors or not having as much attention as other majors.” This year Rivera Torres has seen new doors open. “This last year, I’ve been more involved, and been given the opportunity to be more involved in the shows compared to before.” The involvement was not just because of her senior status. Rivera Torres says, “I’m really career oriented and that’s the family I grew up in. You go to college, get your job, and you work your hardest. To me everything was oriented around how well prepared I am going to be for post-graduation. I really leaned on my academic and faculty advisors a lot, asking them for help because not everything that I wanted to do was offered. I asked myself what other things can I do to fulfill that personal requirement for myself that’s not necessarily offered in the classroom.” 

As her time at Viterbo comes to a close Rivera Torres is faced with moving forward. “It’s a lot of pressure. Thankfully, my family has always been incredibly supportive,” Rivera Torres says. After graduation she has a job lined up working as Director of Campus Ministry at Edgewood High School.  

Switching to theatre from religious studies to now working in a campus ministry has left Rivera Torres with much to reflect on.  She says, “It is crazy how things like that work out. Especially when taking the time to sit and think about it. Good things will come through. Almost like our souls know us better than we think. The fact we make decisions every day that we don’t realize they’re going to impact our future. I said I wanted to be a teacher, then I said I wanted to work in ministry when I was younger. Now I’m doing it even though I thought I changed my mind.”  

Rivera Torres’ parting advice for Viterbo students is, “Focus on your goals and what you want to do, even if it’s not a clear-cut vision. The important progress is your own. Don’t let other people’s opinions or views impact your own future.”