Oliver Spotlight: Marysol Castro ’92

Oliver’s Alumni Relations Manager Heidi Idrovo recently chatted with Alumna Marysol Castro ’92 about her life since Oliver. Castro is set to deliver the keynote address at the upcoming Recognition Ceremony, so asking her to reflect on her experience of the event as a Scholar was a natural starting point for the conversation. “I have a vague recollection of spilling cranberry juice on somebody’s dress,” Castro said. “She had on this beautiful white polka-dot dress. I knocked into a tray of drinks and a full glass of juice spilled all over her. I’m very athletic, but also very clumsy.” Aside from that disastrous moment, Castro fondly remembered how excited her mother was for the special evening. She herself was amazed, thinking about what it could mean for the future. “I remember feeling like I was very important. I didn’t exactly know why, but I knew that I was important,” Castro recalled. “Whenever asked, I always credit being accepted into Oliver as having a profound effect on my life and career. Today, I still have the friends I met there and the connections it helped me make.”

With a two-decade long career in broadcasting that includes being a weather forecaster for The Early Show on CBS and host of Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN, Castro made history this past May when she became the public address announcer at Citi Field for the New York Mets. Not only is she the first woman to take up the job in Mets franchise history, she is the first Latina in the role in Major League Baseball. “I think sports found me, and not the other way around,” joked Castro. While her journalism background is rooted in hard news, Castro credits her family for encouraging her love of sports as a child, especially baseball and boxing, and instilling the knowledge that ensured an easy transition into the world of sports reporting. “Although I have hard-news roots, I know a little bit more than the average person when it comes to sports,” said Castro. “If you see it with your own eyes and ask the right questions, you can tell a story based on fact and truth. That transfers into sports journalism as well.”

Although her new role comes with ultimate bragging rights, Castro remains grounded and admits that she never set out to break boundaries. She has simply stuck to doing what she loves and the rest is history. When it comes to taking on a challenge, Castro said, “I’m definitely a disrupter and if I see an area that is difficult to break into, then I go there. I see my chance to create change.”

Castro first learned about Oliver Scholars as a 12-year old, and quickly understood that, with its help, she could access a world outside of the Bronx. “I had to get out of my comfort zone. [Working with Oliver Scholars] was the best thing I could have done because it afforded me the opportunity to realize the community I was in, though it was wonderful and enriching, was part of a world that was so much bigger. There was so much more for me to do and explore,” said Castro. “Going from the Bronx to Westtown, Pennsylvania, where I was one of 351 students – and one of maybe five Latinos – forced me to be okay with being uncomfortable and allowed me the opportunity to question authority and the community around me.”

After Westtown School, Castro went on to Wesleyan University Columbia University’s School of Journalism. She harnessed all that she had learned from supportive adults in her life who had inspired and believed in her, from her eighth grade English teacher Mrs. Tomesetti to John Hoffman, who plucked her out of the New York public school system and into Oliver Scholars. All of these experiences helped her to find her footing in the male-dominated space of professional sports.

While breaking ground in the sports world is a full-time job, Castro is also moving forward with her other growing passion: putting Latinos on the map. “Having spent all of these years in television not seeing enough Latinos in the newsroom, on television or movie screens, I knew it was my job to go find them,” said Castro. “I kept waiting for an opportunity to create a show about this and finally, I just got tired of waiting. I said, ‘You know what? I know I can do this.’”

Somos, an internet-based show that profiles Latinos in arts, entertainment, sports, and beyond, features sensations such as graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, creator of La Borinqueña, an Afro-Latina comic book character. Castro wears many hats as the show’s creator, writer, producer, and host, and is excited about what is in store. “I want [Somos] to be available to anyone who wants to see it because the point is to share information about groups of people that often go unnoticed, such as Latinos,” she said, “but the goal was to always make it into something bigger, so stay tuned!”

Castro reflected back to her Oliver experience and still-growing career and recognized her achievements as the culmination of years of hard work, grit, and her deep-rooted passion to succeed in everything she has her hands in. “It still boggles my mind every day,” she said, “I never set out to be the first female PA announcer for the Mets and I certainly never set out to be the first Latina in the role in MLB. I really just wanted to continue to do what I love, which is communicate effectively about subjects that I love and hold dear to me. That goes for everything I do and will go on to do.”

Knowing that the Recognition Ceremony will bring together the entire Oliver community to celebrate Scholars who are about to embark on a journey similar to hers, Castro wants to leave Scholars with a special call to action. “If you can change something that will help pave the way for others, why not make that change?” she asked. “Part of my Twitter bio says I’m an occasional challenger of the status quo, but I think I’ll change it to permanent challenger.”