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Campus Cutie: Joc Rivera (A.K.A. The Ukulele Guy)

Major: My major is Computer Science, the baby brother of Software Engineering.

Age: Don’t let the beard fool you, I’m 18.

Relationship Status: I’m single, but I’m really loving meeting new people right now!

You’re also know as “the uke guy,” do you have any other nicknames? Other than Ukulele Guy, I get called “Preacher” a lot. I was a youth director for a few years in Dothan. Joc is actually my official nickname, seeing as I have a very long real name.

How would you describe yourself? I’m the kinda guy who trusts until I’m given a reason not to and wears his heart on his sleeve. I’m funny, I hope, and I really love to make people smile and share some of that grace and joy that the man upstairs gave me.

What is your ideal woman? Tough question! [laughs] She’s simple but outspoken. She loves Jesus and sees every day as an adventure, always ready to change the world. And a winning smile, of course.

Favorite place? This has recently changed. My brand new favorite place is the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, GA. I’m crazy about vintage coke things, so that is definitely the way to go. 

Celebrity Crush? Lindsey Stirling. She dances AND plays the violin? YES.

What is one thing that people don’t know about you? I love movies. Especially Superhero movies, rom-coms, and comedies. I’m always down for a movie and I take pride in the quality of my film collection. A movie night with a bottle of Coke? That’s living! 

How would you describe the most important day of your life so far? I believe every day has the potential to be the best ever. That’s how I face each day, so it’s hard to pick one. But the day I decided to trust God and move on, that’s probably when things really turned around for me.

How do you want to be remembered? I want people to think of laughs, songs, and memories. I want to be remembered by the small things, the moments that I believe change lives. I want them to say “He just cared so much and wanted to do things right…. and was a hell of a dancer!” [laughs] Hopefully! 

What’s your favorite Auburn Memory? Watching Ricardo Louis make the catch that shook the Plains on tv in an apartment full of friends and running to my balcony and blaring “WAR EAGLE” at the top of my lungs. The best part? 7 other people yelled it back. I rolled Toomers for the first time that night and saw a couple get engaged. That was quite a night.

What other activities are you involved in? I am Vice President of the Auburn University United Ukulele Collaboration and a very active participant of the Auburn University Swing Dance Association, every Friday night, 7pm, Jan Dempsey! Free of charge! Perfect beginning to every weekend and I’ll always be there!

What is your proudest accomplishment? The girl on the balcony–she was having a really rough time and was about ready to quit. But the Big Man drew it up so I’d be walking the sidewalk in front of her playing and singing “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind. And she called me up and we talked. She asked if I believed in coincidences. I don’t, and I told her so. We and another guy sang and talked the night away. And things changed for her that night. I saw her a month later and my heart melted. God works in amazing ways. That’s my proudest moment.

What can a girl do to get your attention? Sing with me! [laughs] And I’m definitely a sucker for a big hug and bigger smile. I just love people who care, so love life and let’s change the world!

Describe Auburn women of today. A real Auburn woman today owns at least one t-shirt four sizes too big. But a girl who wants to grow in academics, athletics, and relationships? A girl who welcomes people to Auburn with open arms and seeks what’s right above what’s easy or convenient? That’s an Auburn woman today. And we’ve got those!

What was your reaction to Auburn’s recent National Championship loss? This question kills me. Heartbreak. I’m the biggest football fan on campus, and I’ve been saying we’d make the Championship all year! I’m super invested. It was really tough to swallow, but I’m VERY excited and hopeful for next year in the College Football Playoff system.

What are your post graduation plans? I plan to work at Google Inc. as a software engineer. I intend to expand into marketing and sales and development, someday owning my favorite company. More importantly, this Ukulele Playing Preacher wants to open a church. I’ll be a pastor someday, so I’ll see you guys on Sundays then! 

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