Alumni Profile

Oscar Rivera Jr. ’10

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Alumni Profile

Oscar Rivera Jr. ’10

Oscar Rivera Jr. '10 seeks to inspire first generation students and share his love of Christ in vulnerability.

Autumn 2023 | Marianna Schmiesing

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Following a profound conversion moment at a Steubenville Youth Conference in 1995, Oscar Rivera Jr. ’10 decided to apply to Franciscan and major in history. Heavily involved in Missions of Peace, Oscar did mission work in Jamaica, Barbados, and locally in the Steubenville community. 

“It was a complete shift of pace compared to where I grew up and how I lived. On campus—it was just completely different. It took a little bit of adjusting because it was just peaceful and different.” 

Coming from inner-city Waterbury, Connecticut, Oscar grew up in a strong Catholic Latino community. (Two members of this community had invited him to his first Steubenville conference.) He “took a very urban approach” for his thesis, writing on the development of Latino gangs from discrimination protection to a network of violence and syndicated crime. 

On campus, Oscar was one of the original members of Servants of the Savior Household. He also was a “hype man” for the Athletics Department, working as the sports announcer for the basketball and baseball teams as they transitioned from club to NCAA DIII.  

At the time, Oscar was one of the few Latino students on campus—and the first in his family to graduate from a four-year college.  

He says, “It was difficult for me because I didn’t want my family to think I was a sellout or that I was somewhat better than them. This degree wasn’t just a degree I received. This was me representing my family in a world that a lot of us didn’t think we had a chance in.” 

To first-generation students, he says, “Be a risk taker. Be OK saying, ‘I don’t know what this is going to look like, but if I’m going to rep my family, and represent them well, then I’m going to take them with me on this journey.’” 

Oscar didn’t think his life’s journey would bring him back to Franciscan, but in addition to serving as the director of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts, Oscar is a speaker for the Steubenville Youth Conferences and has spoken at over 30 conferences.  

As a student, Oscar had seen conference speakers come to campus.  

“I always thought, what if God is calling me to that, but never really paid it much thought,” he says.  

The call came in prayer when Oscar felt discouraged with what he was currently doing. 

I was in Christ the King Chapel, standing in line for confession, and I was crazy enough to say, ‘Hey, what do you want with me. Why isn’t what I want lining up with what you want?’ I heard him in the silence of my prayer: ‘Because your mission is not aligned with my mission.’”  

Asking for clarity, Oscar looked up and saw that he was facing the Second Station of the Cross and standing under the Tenth Station. 

My heart just kind of lit up,” he says. “God is asking me to be as vulnerable as his son who was stripped before all of humanity. He wants me to take up my cross, to be vulnerable with people via this ministry, through opening up my personal life. 

Music—specifically hip hop—is a big part of his personal life. Adopting the name “Two Ten,” Oscar brings the beauty of music into his ministry. 

“It’s a very driving force, of motivations, of emotions,” he says. “Hip hop was—it’s not the same as it was back in the day—but it’s still storytelling, the dramaturgy of the hood. It was a place where it just kind of took you out of your poverty, where you went to a world of fame.” 

“After listening to all of the influencers, storytellers, people who can put creative spins to stuff, I was motivated to do the same thing but with the Gospel, taking people from a spiritual poverty to a spiritual richness.” 

In his spare time, Oscar loves watching movies—thrillers, action, and horror—and professional wrestling. “I love urban art, sitting down and sketching a little graffiti phrase from Scripture and getting artistic,” he says. 

Oscar met his wife, Pamela (Roberts ’10 MA Counseling), shortly before graduation. Now married with three beautiful children, Oscar calls fatherhood a “humbling adventure.” 

I never really knew the depths of the Father’s love until I became a father myself. In a moment with my firstborn, it hit me like a real big flash. Wow, he gave up his only Son. It shows how imperfect I am as father, and it gives me a goal of how to be a better father.” 


Marianna Schmiesing ’18 works as a content strategist at Franciscan University.

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