/stories/2019/08/deploying-a-dream
Deploying a Dream

Deploying a Dream

By Silvia Alvarez

Deploying a Dream

By Silvia Alvarez
U-SoA welcomes MDC Transfer & US Army Veteran.
Inspirational, relentless and driven; meet Otto Mastrapa, a 3rd year transfer student (from MDC). Otto is working on earning his B.Arch and M.Arch degrees. His life-long goal has been to become a professional architect, and despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, nothing will stop him. A graduate from Christopher Columbus High School (Miami) in 1991, and retired from the US Army - 82nd Airborne in 2015, Otto didn’t think he was ”college material”. After two long military stints and three tours of active duty, Otto excelled as a standout student at Miami Dade College, made the Dean’s list, was named “architecture student of the year” and won a scholarship to attend U-SoA (Fa’19). Otto’s military service in the Army and Navy, with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, left “some scars”; he suffered from fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, recurring pain and PTSD, but upon his return to civilian life, he chose that “deployment of his dream” would be his next chapter. Otto’s persistence was fueled by the strength he received from his family; his cousin, Staff Sgt. Arthur Mastrapa was killed in action in Iraq, and his brother, retired Army Sgt. Robert Ledee, did not live to witness Otto’s school success (to include an associate degree from MDC), but both served as constant role models for Otto, encouraging him to pursue his passion in architecture. While in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Otto proudly displayed UM memorabilia throughout his barracks, during an operation, he held a Canes banner for one of his pictures, always proud that others referred to him as “Miami”. Otto’s hobbies include surfing and working out and he always knew he wanted to be a part of UM. We’re thrilled to report that he joins U-SoA, and we’re honored to be participants in his life-long quest! Welcome Otto, and thank you for your service!
2012-2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom. Task Force Lightning Horse
2012-2013 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Operation Enduring Freedom. Task Force Lightning Horse.