Portrait of human services Winter 2023 graduate Nadieska Diaz Araujo

Ready to pay it forward

Student Stories
January 8, 2024
Nadieska Diaz Araujo, a December 2023 graduate, found engagement was the key to success.
Portrait of human services Winter 2023 graduate Nadieska Diaz Araujo

Nadieska Diaz Araujo found a home and a community at Fitchburg State, and is already paying it forward.

Born and raised in Peru, she moved with her father to Massachusetts when she was in high school. She didn’t speak English, didn’t like the cold weather, and missed her family back home. In her own words, it was horrible.

But she was strong, and persisted. She took advantage of caring counselors at school, and dedicated social workers at home. She worked hard on her English. And as graduation neared, she found herself looking at colleges, and visited Fitchburg State with friends. She immediately felt at home on this campus, where financial aid counselors helped her navigate paperwork, and she met professors who showed commitment to her success.

That atmosphere continued after she enrolled. A commuter student, she connected with her peers by getting involved in groups including the Latin American Student Organization, and the Dance Club.

“For me it was hard to connect with people because I didn’t live on campus, but I gave myself an opportunity and it was amazing,” she said. “I met a lot of people because of those clubs.” 

She found mentors among her professors in human services, and at the Career Services office, where she found a job and made connections that led to her internship this last semester.  At AIDS Project Worcester, she works with clients and sees to their diverse needs, helping connect them with services in their community. In many ways, she is doing the same work for others that was so transformative for her own journey, and it is the work she hopes to continue now that she has completed her degree in human services.

Her time in college has changed her life. While she will miss the supportive environment she found here, she knows it is time to move forward. Most importantly, she knows that she is ready.

More than 400 graduate and undergraduate degrees were conferred in December 2023.