From the moment she gets up in the morning until she finally goes to bed, Cristina Urena pushes boundaries—spiritually, personally and academically. “In my freshman year, I immediately noticed that I needed to network, move around, meet people and put myself out there to maximize my college experience,” she says. No matter how impossible her busy schedule may seem, Urena says she keeps striving toward her ultimate goal: “To help others.”
As a psychology major, part of Urena‘s daily strive involves exploring why people act the way they do. “I’ve always been very interested in people; this fascination led me to psychology and fed my longing to someday help people in need,” she says.
Through her many roles at Alvernia and in the community Urena has already started to help both her fellow students on campus and other young people in the surrounding area.
The power of ‘plain ‘ol love’
At Alvernia, Urena fills numerous roles; she’s a member of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a work study assistant for University life and a student ambassador. She was also recently accepted to the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals Undergraduate Fellowship Program, which will help her better understand the field she ultimately plans to pursue.
Regarding her membership with InterVarsity, “I think what I bring to campus is plain ol’ love,” Urena says. “We have bible studies throughout the week, and God’s word simply calls us to love others and offer them hope, purpose, support and the amazing forgiveness of Jesus Christ,” she says.
Urena offers a different kind of support through her role as a student ambassador, where she assists at events on campus, such as open houses and graduations. “I direct families, engage in conversations with visitors and help set up for events. Being an ambassador has helped me become a better leader and made me more connected to Alvernia,” she says.
The sky is the limit
Off campus, Urena devotes much of her time to her church as a youth leader, where her priority is “to find out where students stand with their faith and help them move forward,” she says.
Urena’s advice for other students who have goals as lofty as hers, both spiritually and otherwise: “Don’t ever limit yourself! And secondly, get rid of your comfort zone,” she says. “If I weren’t as outgoing or open to meeting new people or asking questions and building relationships on campus, I wouldn’t have accomplished half the things I have…”
Urena plans to continue to build relationships after graduation by attending graduate school to earn a Master’s degree in student affairs or related field in higher education management. She says: “Just like so many people have helped me at Alvernia, I want to help other college students in the future.”