Entering the world stage
Cardoza’s family came to the United States as refuges in 1990, fleeing from the
civil war that raged in El Salvador during the 80s until the 90s. Her parents
wanted to provide their family and their daughter a better life, and the chance
to follow her dreams.
years later, Cardoza is taking full advantage of the opportunity her family
provided her—she is in the final stretch of earning her international affairs
degree at Northern Arizona University, supplemented by spending time gaining
educational insight studying abroad in South Korea until June.
Encouragement, abroad and at home
As the first
in her family to attend college, Cardoza says she chose to come to Northern
Arizona University because of the strength of the international affairs program
and because the university offered her opportunity through scholarships and
international affairs as an opportunity to for me to be able to see and better
understand the world,” Cardoza explains. “I've been given the chance to do that
by studying abroad through the international program.”
help and encouragement of her economics professor, Nancy Baca, and Dianna
Sanford, her mentor from student support services, Cardoza was selected for the
Boren Scholarship. This scholarship awards up to $20,000 for an academic year
to undergraduate students to enable them to study abroad in countries that are
of key interest to the United States.
my mentor for the last four years, and she and Nancy wrote my letter of
recommendation,” Cardoza explains. “Nancy specialized in Korea, and really
encouraged me to take her course, Principles of Macroeconomics. I learned so
much that prepared me to study abroad.”
As Cardoza furthered her classroom
education abroad while also studying and learning Korean, she says one of the
most valuable lessons she learned was the power a strong support group and a compassionate
of the first things that shocked me in Korea was actually the sense of
community,” Cardoza says. “I had an accident my first semester in Korea where I
ended up in the hospital with a broken sternum. I didn't know the language or
what was going on, and they just took care of everything I needed and helped me
recover. It was really incredible.”
In addition to providing funding for
Cardoza to study abroad, the Boren Scholarship also stipulates that she will work
for the federal government within three years. For Cardoza, who dreams of being
a diplomat, it’s an opportunity to progress one step closer to her goals.
“I'm definitely excited,” Cardoza says.
“The Boren Scholarship helps me get my foot in the door, which will mean that I'm
that much closer to the reality of being able to achieve my goals of joining
the Foreign Service in the future.”
Following graduation from Northern Arizona University, and fueled by the lessons learned from her parents, her mentors, and abroad, Cardoza was accepted to both the Peace Corps and the Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain, and is deciding on which one she will pursue.
“I'm really grateful I got my start at Northern Arizona University because I've been able to go abroad, which was my goal since I started in the international affairs program,” Cardoza says. “There have been so many people along the way that I've met at the university who have become my mentors. I am very grateful to have such inspiring influences like Dianna and Nancy to look up to. I’ve learned so