President’s Society Member Emphasizes Service
“St. John’s University has brought nothing but blessings to my life,” emphasized Vanessa Diaz, a Brooklyn, NY, native and Criminal Justice major. “Here I followed my passion for service to others. St. John’s has opened doors, giving me opportunities related to social justice and advocacy that I wouldn’t have had. The University also brought me back to my roots and opened my eyes to what it means to be Hispanic. Our diversity is unmatched.”
“St. John’s offered so many ways to get involved that revolved around my interests. From Campus Ministry, to service, to dance, I felt immediately at home as a commuter student. Most important to me was the diversity of the campus community.”
- BS in Criminal Justice
- The Lesley H. and William L. Collins College of Professional Studies
A commuter student, Vanessa decided to live at home and attend college. St. John’s offered her the perfect balance of New York City life in a suburban campus setting. “I didn’t want to study in Manhattan because I saw myself attending a big school with space to walk around,” Vanessa recalled. “At the same time, I wanted to be in a diverse city where I could learn more about my culture and that of others.”
Service has been the paramount theme of her St. John’s experience. Currently, she serves as Co-Vice President of the University’s chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. She has gone on several Midnight Runs, as well as a service plunge to Denver, CO, ministering to underserved communities there.
“It’s humbling to see how blessed your life can be,” she stressed. “These experiences opened my eyes to how devastating the problem of homelessness really is and how it comes in many forms.”
Originally, Vanessa wanted to study law, but she has since pivoted to Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and hopes to become a Doctor of Audiology. She credited St. John’s administrators and staff with helping her find an audiology clinic at which to intern, and plans to eventually attend graduate school.
A member of the President’s Society, the highest honor a St. John’s student can achieve, Vanessa applied because she felt it was a logical extension of her involvement in campus life. “Being a part of the President’s Society shows dedication and commitment. What better way to give back to the school that has given me so much?”
She added, “The President’s Society has helped me network and stand out in a room full of people. The ability to converse, introduce yourself to new people, and obey the proper etiquette is an art. The President’s Society ensures we are prepared and gives us skills that will last a lifetime.”
Vanessa stressed that not only has St. John’s provided her with more opportunities in the realms of social justice and advocacy, but it has also rekindled her love of dance, paving the way to her election as President of the Sensación Spanish Dance Team. “It also encouraged me to broaden my horizons and join a dance studio which houses a semi-pro salsa team that performs and travels throughout New York City and the US.”
Throughout her time at St. John’s, Vanessa said she has met many dedicated individuals who want to give back. “St. John’s taught me to be a leader and balance all my work seamlessly. It has given me the drive and passion to always aim high and be a leader for people in any situation.”