On acting and acceptance: The story of Derrick Gutierrez

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Freshman biology major Derrick Gutierrez said he was once a spider for Halloween. While he had all eight legs, he was without the use of his arms because they would rip if he moved them, so he kept them straight the entire night.

As a freshman, he is still new to the school, but he came to UMass Lowell for the biology program. “And overall I just thought it was a really good and affordable school, so it was the best of both worlds,” he said. He said he has always been interested in science.

He also said the one word he would pick to describe his life is “positive.”

Besides science, he said something that fascinates him is watching other people interact. “Obviously you meet people from different backgrounds and it’s something you might not have known,” he said.

This past summer, he said he worked as an actor and got to perform on a professional stage, which he said was one of the coolest things to happen to him. He and 60 other teenagers worked on an original show that discussed some of the social issues Gutierrez finds most important: classism, racism, sexism and ableism.

The main message was not to judge people based on what they identify with.

“Just care about who the person is and what they stand for as themselves. Focus on someone as an individual, not what they identify themselves as,” he said.

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