“Next week, I will be the first person from my immediate family to graduate from college. My graduation means making my parents proud and setting an example for my younger sisters.”
Claribel Villa has big plans for the future: She hopes to become a social worker in the Latino community. The sociology and Spanish double major is making big strides toward that goal by attending the master’s degree program at the School of Social Work of Boston College this fall.
The Camden, New Jersey native made the most of her time at SJU as co-president of the Latino Student Association (@SJU_LSA), a member of Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit Honor Society and an ICC scholar. She also worked in SJU’s Center for Inclusion and Diversity.
“These experiences all had an immense impact on me,” she says. “I learned time management, patience, and how to work as a member of a team. And they helped me grow into my identity as a Hispanic woman.”
Villa cites a family member’s experiences with therapy for her desire to pursue a career in social work.
“I saw the impact the therapists had and I knew I wanted to replicate that in the future as a social worker myself,” says Villa. “In addition, my first language is Spanish and oftentimes I had to translate during sessions or while scheduling appointments. From this experience I know how hard it can be when you need help and do not know the language.”
Villa admits feeling nervous about graduation, but ultimately, is excited to take the next step and attend graduate school.
“The last four years have had a lot of meaning for me,” she says. “Next week, I will be the first person from my immediate family to graduate from college. My graduation means making my parents proud and setting an example for my younger sisters. But I will miss the friends who have become like family.”