If scientists cloned Neo Guerrero ’23 three times, they could form a full string quartet; he plays the violin, viola, cello, and bass. If the orchestra wanted to expand its repertoire, Guerrero also sings, conducts, plays the piano, and is learning the organ.
Guerrero, who plays in the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, says he’s known as the “utility person” because of his ability to fill in for a variety of instruments.
Guerrero’s peers nominated him as the Most Mysterious senior. The nomination confused him, he says, so he asked his friends whether the description matched.
“A lot of people were like, ‘You are very mysterious.’ And I’m like, ‘Why?’ And they’re like, ‘We’re never quite sure what you’re up to.’”
It’s a fair assessment. With Guerrero’s extensive involvement on campus, one might think he actually has a clone. A joint concentrator in Electrical Engineering and Chemistry and Physics with a secondary in Music, Guerrero has taken five classes nearly every semester, and he’s currently doing thesis research. In addition to HRO, Guerrero is the assistant music director of the Mozart Society Orchestra and is a part of the Harvard Bach Society Orchestra. Guerrero is also a peer study leader for Chemistry 160: “The Quantum World,” a course assistant for Physical Science 12b: “Electromagnetism and Quantum Physics from an Analytic, Numerical and Experimental Perspective,” and a production assistant and photographer for Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science.”
While some of Guerrero’s peers know him as a musical jack-of-all-trades, others know him as their teaching fellow. And Eliot House residents might see him in an entirely different light — as someone carting suitcases full of laundry across the dining hall.
“My blockmates and I, we theorize that doing laundry a minimum number of times is the most efficient,” Guerrero says.
In an attempt to optimize time, Guerrero says he and his blockmates started doing “semesterly laundries” last spring. “We had so much laundry that we needed a dolly to roll it,” he says. “We had suitcases and we went to roll it through the d-hall, and everyone was watching us. We ended up using 12 machines between the three or four of us.”
“I actually don’t think it’s more efficient,” he says. “I think it’s more efficient to wash your clothes every week like a normal person, but it’s fun. I think it’s fun when it’s that volume of laundry.”
Though it may not be evident from initial appearances, his friends get to see the more social, fun side of Guerrero. “I’m a very social person. I think I get my energy from being with people,” he says.
It may not come as a surprise, then, that in spring 2021, Guerrero served as an Eliot House representative for the Harvard Undergraduate Council before it became the Harvard Undergraduate Association. “I just thought it was something new that I could try,” he says.
Though Covid-19 severely stilted social life on campus, Guerrero and his fellow Eliot House representatives launched virtual initiatives to bring people together, including a virtual library. “Anyone [could] hop in and just do work but also see people, or if they wanted to talk, they [could] go to a breakout room,” he says.
Guerrero says his biggest motivator is his desire to help people. “I do remember times where I was like, ‘I wish I had someone else there to help me,’” he says. “So I hope I can just be that person for other people.”
It’s a big part of why he decided to help out with three courses this semester. “I host a lot of office hours every week and I try to make sure that no one is struggling or confused, because I do remember a time where I felt like I was really stuck, and it was hard because maybe the TF or someone didn’t really care,” he says. “So that’s what I hope I’m giving back.”
His teaching experience has informed his career plans as well. Guerrero says he wants to apply to graduate school after taking a year off to work and figure out what he might want to pursue. “I know academia is very, very tough, but I think it’d be nice to teach,” he says.
Post-graduation, Guerrero also wants to continue incorporating music into his life. At Harvard, he’s enjoyed playing with peers and friends, whether in a casual setting — like the Eliot Junior Common Room — or on stage in front of a crowd of people.
Though his activities may seem far-ranging and eclectic, Guerrero says he’s always followed his genuine passions and will continue to do so. Five years from now, he says he hopes to “continue doing what I want to be doing, whether that’s grad school or a job that I like — and also being surrounded by people,” he says.
As he approaches his final semester, he hopes to meet new people, make friends, and dispel the myth around the man.
“If you’re one of the people that do think I’m mysterious,” he says with a chuckle, “just come talk to me.”
— Associate Magazine Editor Meimei Xu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MeimeiXu7.