image of Joanna Cardona standing by the Chicago River
Joanna Cardona

This academic school year has been challenging at some many levels, but our students have persevered through it all. Our shared difficulties have created a spirit of togetherness in the ISU community as we approach the end of the academic year and so we lift our heads now to welcome Spring and celebrate our graduating seniors.

Joanna Cardona is a public relations major with a minor in Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS). “Having a minor in this program means that you get to have an amazing selection of classes you can take with amazing instructors who want to see you succeed!”

“One of my biggest takeaways from some of my courses is how much I learned about my own communities and what makes us so unique and special. I was able to broaden my perspectives and be pushed out of my comfort zone in a positive way. I was able to grow and expand my knowledge to better understand the world and how we can work together!”

Upon graduation, Joanna wants to apply her skills in graphic design, public speaking, and her LALS minor to become and asset in the Latino Community.

Tell us about yourself and your family background.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois. A part of my childhood I spent in Puerto Rico. The rest of my childhood was a mix of Chicago and the Northwest suburbs. I am Mexican and Puerto Rican. My mom is Mexican and my dad is Puerto Rican. I’ve had a very blessed life by having such a rich culture and loving family!

What do you do outside of the classroom? Do you have any favorite pastimes or hobbies? If yes, please share with us.
Outside of the classroom, I am always trying to find ways to be culturally involved. I love to dance and sing Latino music. I love to cook meals with my mom, especially the ones that have always been my favorite. I love to explore and travel. I do a lot of solo traveling and the last trip that I went to, I spent two weeks in Costa Rica by myself and It was a blast. I’ve gone to France, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and many more places too!

Why ISU? What brought you to this University?
I chose ISU because it felt like home. ISU is not too big but not too small, just right. I stepped in campus and I just felt a sense of peace and comfort walking around the Quad. I knew that I wanted to go to a university in Illinois but I didn’t know which one. I scheduled a campus visit at ISU and that is when I finalized the choice of becoming a redbird!

How have your experiences been so far as a student minoring in the Latin American and Latino/a Studies (LALS) program?
My experiences so far have been great! I have gotten the chance to take amazing classes where I learn more about myself and others around me. My minor, in particular, has offered me classes that helped me understand myself a little bit better and have made me grow and expand my knowledge. It has created pathways where I can connect better with my community! Having this minor has been so rewarding and I am very lucky to be able to be part of this community.

What would you tell any student who wants to minor on Latino Studies? What about incoming freshmen who are thinking about joining?
I will tell students to just go for it! This minor provides ways for you to connect with others and learn more about yourself and the people around you. You create personal relationships with your professors and they are always there to support you 100% of the way! I took a leap of faith and it has brought me so many great opportunities!