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Get to know Vanderbilt’s residential faculty: Professor Celso Castilho

by Aug. 1, 2020, 7:00 AM

Associate Professor of History and faculty head of Memorial House Celso Castilho with his family, wife, Jessica, daughter Luiza, sons Paulo and Jack and dog Chancy.

One of the special parts of a student’s life at Vanderbilt lies in our uniquely personal and collaborative residential college experience. Undergraduate houses and colleges are led by faculty who live with their families in community with students.

Our faculty heads of house and colleges and their teams are excited to learn more about their new student residents! And they’re starting by revealing some things about themselves in this special portrait series.

  • Name: Celso Thomas Castilho
  • Faculty position: Associate professor of history
  • Years at Vanderbilt: 12
  • Residential college: Memorial House
  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • Favorite book: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Favorite food: Lasagna, tacos, Cuban food, Korean food, burgers (I could keep going…LOL)
  • Favorite spot on campus: My office, Rand, gym in the basement of Alumni Hall

Although this year will be extremely different than years past, what are you most looking forward to for the upcoming academic year? I’m looking forward to many of the same things I always have: meeting new students, reconnecting with colleagues, advancing my research goals, etc… I’m also looking forward to experiencing the election from the perspective of first-year students.

Why do you value being a faculty head of house or what do you love about the residential college experience? I’m going into this for the first-time, so I’m excited about the chances to shape and be shaped by the students. I know that I’ll come to see Vanderbilt, my role as a faculty member within it, and even Nashville differently from having these close interactions with so many students. I also cherish the opportunity to make this a welcoming place. Ultimately, I feel really invested in helping develop thoughtful and critical thinkers, knowing that Vanderbilt students will play an important role in society in the decades to come.

What advice do you have for new students coming to campus and returning students? First years: Explore, be patient, and be self-reflective. This is a big transition. It’s going to take time to figure out what works academically, socially, and personally, and as soon as you do, it’ll change. But it’s a process and help yourself out by being proactive in it. Returning students: Try to focus more on where you’re going than on what it was like before this new reality. Do as you would do ordinarily at the start of a new year–have fun imagining what’s on the horizon.

Tell us a funny or poignant experience you’ve had at Vanderbilt? Favorite experience: I was beyond thrilled to introduce Edwidge Danticat at an event a couple years ago.

Who do you step up and mask up for? All of us.

Associate Professor of History and faculty head of Memorial Hall Celso Castilho with his family, wife, Jessica, daughter Luiza, sons Paulo and Jack and dog Chancy.

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