By Andrea Mau
Web Content Contributor
Kuro Tawil is a 2012 graduate from Texas State and is now a part of the Texas State Alumni Association. Tawil was a communications major while attending college and shortly after graduation took a backpacking trip across Asia.
While traveling, Tawil noticed the women of countries he was visiting were vulnerable to assault and rape. Thus, Tawil sought out to give defense items such as pepper spray to women across the globe. This began his initiative and company Kuros.
Thursday I was given the opportunity to interview with Tawil about his journey, what Texas State was like back in his day, and tips he has now for current students. The following is the interview in which we discuss these topics.
Andie Mau: When did you attend Texas State and what was your life like then?
Kuro Tawil: I had a wonderful time at Texas State. [I] wasn’t super academically focused. I was more focused on extracurriculars and I did a lot of different things: I was in a fraternity, I played lacrosse, [and] I was in the car club for a little bit.
[It was] really a varied college experience but one I guess [where] I wasn’t focused on what was next and that’s kind of what led me ultimately to go travel for a little bit.
AM: Out of those extracurriculars, which do you think made the biggest impact on who you are today?
KT: As a whole, my professors made a much bigger impact on me in terms of [keeping] in contact with them. They really inspired me and taught me how to think outside of the box and that’s the biggest thing.
AM: Were these professors in your department or just general professors?
KT: I would say the biggest impact really came from the Communication Studies Department. A lot of these professors embody that there’s more than one way to reach an ultimate goal. We see this a lot where professors will have a big overarching goal, and it would give latitude to students to get to that point.
Understanding that there’s latitude not only in academia but in life [and that] had a huge impact on how I approach problems. Especially when we’re dealing with larger international problems. [In] things like gender-based violence and societal issues you need to be able to work with latitude because a lot of times you’re gonna run into different situations in different countries and it’s never the same layout but it’s always the same problem.
AM: I watched your Ted Talk: No Issue is Too Big: Bringing Light to the Darkness where you talk about naming a darkness to tackle. What do you suggest is the best way to narrow down a target issue?
KT: That’s really the thing is that it’s entirely individual. I wish I could tell you it’s easy but it’s not because in order to identify a name you have to confront really what it is that bothers you the most.
That’s the thing I think a lot of people are afraid of. I mean I know I was very afraid of it and I really didn’t have a choice. I was kind of forced to acknowledge what is it I’m running away from? And what is it inside of me that I need to fix?
Until you can really introspectively look and access yourself you’re never gonna be able to fully name it. Once you identify a problem you can work towards it but until you can identify it you’re not gonna be able to make any meaningful steps towards fixing it.
AM: How has Texas State guided you to your current career?
KT: The biggest thing that’s guided me again is understanding latitude. This is applicable to any industry or any career field. A lot of times we approach things like you have to take certain steps like you gotta go to school, study this, get an internship, and work your way through.
And that is true for certain majors like if you’re gonna be a doctor or an attorney. But for people that don’t necessarily know what they want to do understand that there is latitude. People always say ‘Do what you love’ and that is such a cop-out to me.
Instead, I would say figure out what you actually enjoy doing and how you can fit that into a way that makes money. Don’t just quit your day job because you love crocheting or making miniatures. Figure out how to fit what you love into what you’re doing.
AM: What motivates you personally in life and work?
KT: It’s actually really morbid but it’s just the finality of everything. The [number] of days that we have on this piece of earth spinning is very limited in the grand scheme of things. So how can you fully take advantage of that time to make the biggest impact possible?
It’s not to say you have to be like Mother Teresa and living every single day improving the world. It’s a balance. It’s that balance of mortality that motivates me.
AM: How can current Texas State students make the most of their time here?
KT: There are a massive amount of resources at most universities and Texas State has a tremendous depth of knowledge and contacts all over the world. Things I wish I understood and took advantage of when I was there.
But develop relationships with professors and understand that once you’re out of school you can still reach out to them. This can be tremendously impactful for career mobility or international development.
These professors are very connected and they’re connected to other professors at other schools. They’re connected with people [and] a lot of the time large companies. Take advantage of the network that the university has and foster relationships.
You’re a grown adult. View your professors as mentors and as people you can bounce ideas off of and really talk to. A lot of them are very receptive to that and they wanna help. A lot of students just don’t take full advantage of that.
AM: What does it mean now to be a part of the alumni association at Texas State?
KT: I’m incredibly honored. I think they may have made a mistake or something. It’s cliche but it’s like standing on the shoulders of giants. [There are] people that have done so much more than me. I’m just honored and grateful to even be in the room.
AM: Anything I should have asked or any other comments?
KT: Again, nobody knows what they’re doing in life. Some people may tell you they know what they’re doing but a lot of people just fake it. It can be challenging at times [but] you’ve got to remember to do one little thing every day.
Featured Image by Piper Blake