Student Profile: English major is jack of all trades

PHOTO BY KARISSA ERICKSON

Rio Gonzalez was scheduled to leave MSU a year ago, but instead decided he was “too busy to graduate.”

At that time, Gonzalez was studying abroad in London. The trip was funded by donations received through Gonzalez’s travel blog, which includes maps of his routes, pictures of London and his own written stories. Gonzalez said that not only was London an inexpensive place, but it was “the cleanest city” he had ever seen.

Back at MSU, Gonzalez provides technical support and operates slides for Professor Michael Sexson’s lectures, even pulling up relevant images and quotes without being prompted by Sexson. During a class with Sexson in which he was actually enrolled, Gonzalez fixed the computer during a lecture. “Once I sat down, I never left,” he said.

Like Sexson, Gonzalez hopes to someday teach college literature, and decided to study it because he knew he could “only afford to go to school once.”

Gonzalez is also involved in the security business. He had his first security job at Bozeman’s Blue Iguana Teen Center, where he worked concerts and big events, and through connections he eventually found himself working security at Hatchfest and The Warehouse.

After turning 21, he received a call from a friend at The Baxter Hotel, who said, “You have work in 30 minutes. Wear a suit.” Gonzalez rose through the ranks and eventually became head of security there.

Today, Gonzalez works at Erotique in Bozeman. His business card features a romantic-era painting and a sex-related quote, while the backside states that he is a BDSM specialist who has on more than one occasion given an “impromptu bondage lesson.”  As he explained, with the right expertise, a regular set of headphones can easily be turned into handcuffs.

Those same hands that can twist headphones into handcuffs and write for a successful travel blog have also rescued animals from unfortunate fates. Gonzalez has a snake named Baxter, adopted from a girl who wouldn’t feed him for fear of being bitten.

His pride and joy, however, is Simon Oliver James Qwilleran III, a stray cat that found Gonzalez and never left. Affectionately nicknamed Squish due to a concerning incident with a car tire, Qwilleran III is an integral part of Gonzalez’s life.

Gonzalez’s vast array of experiences stems from following his number one rule: “If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.”

“You’d be surprised what you can make fun,” he said.