BSU really helped me prepare for my future, specifically through my involvement as a student. That taught me the importance of adaptability, and how to react positively to create the best outcome.
In high school, Kyle Bueno, ’18, G’21, dreamed of going to college in Washington D.C., to pursue a career in politics. However, circumstances put his dream on hold. In retrospect, it was one of the best things that’s happened to him.
“I was so determined back then to go to D.C. because public service is what I wanted to do,” Bueno said.
Ultimately, he opted for Bridgewater State University, which was close to his Fairhaven home.
“I admit at first, I didn’t see myself there, because I didn’t think BSU offered the same opportunities that private schools in D.C. offered,” he said. “But come to find out I was completely wrong. Thank God, because I had the best time at BSU and am so grateful I went there."
The draw to public service started one night around the family dinner table. The first generation American sat and listened to his Brazilian father and Azorean mother discuss current events with his brother. As they talked, he asked them,
“Why is that you work 40-plus hours a week to put food on the table, pay the mortgage, the bills.”
His parents’ response was straight forward.
They said, that’s ‘just how our system is,’ and I thought, that’s not fair,” Bueno said. “You came to this county to create better lives for yourselves.
“My parents told me in that moment, if you want to make a change, you have to be the change,” he said.
They were paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi, and hearing those words became a turning point in their son’s life.
“It ignited me,” he said. “I developed a calling to serve the public. I knew I wanted to help people, bring people together, make positive legislative changes for people.”
He took the first steps toward doing just that as an undergraduate at BSU by immersing himself in campus politics and various activities while pursuing a degree in economics.
During his time at Bridgewater, Bueno worked as an orientation leader, joined and eventually became president of Phi Kappa Theta, and was elected to serve as student trustee on the BSU Board of Trustees.
As student trustee, he learned a lot about how a university functions at the macro level and developed a relationship with BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr., a connection that proved to be impactful.
“Fred is a really unique person,” Bueno said. “He truly cares about students. We had many one-on-ones where I shared my perspective as a student, and I felt he trusted me when it came to discussing student-related issues. I learned a lot from him about being a leader and how to be a good one.”
After earning his bachelor’s, Bueno opted to stay at BSU to earn his master’s degree in public administration. He was able to secure a graduate assistant position, which helped cover his tuition and fees. The MPA program helped him better grasp which direction to take.
“I wasn’t sure how to tailor it: did I want to work more on the political side or administrative side?” he said. “I was able to define what better suited my skill set and what I wanted to do for my career goals.”
Ultimately, his BSU experiences helped Bueno fulfill his dream of living and working in Washington D.C. Today, he works as a presidential management fellow and social science analyst within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he crafts legislative proposals for child support and mandatory childcare.
“BSU really helped me prepare for my future, specifically through my involvement as a student,” he said. “That taught me the importance of adaptability, and how to react positively to create the best outcome.
“Bridgewater also taught me the importance of cultivating authentic relationships with people,” Bueno added. “We all work with people that are very different from us in how we think and act. As we coalesce around shared goals, if we are able to effectively communicate, we then receive big rewards and teachable moments.”
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