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Vianela Fernandez ’02


Vianela Fernandez ’02

vianela fernandez final2Vianela Fernandez ’02 (Hope High School) graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2006 with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies. She then attended graduate school at URI, earning an M.S. in Human Development & Family Studies with a concentration in College Student Personnel.


Vianela currently works for Bowie State University as a Financial Aid Advisor, where she advises students and their parents on all facets of financial aid programs, policies, and procedures. “What I like most about my job is interacting with students and serving as a resource to them and their families,” she says. “I chose this field because of my experience as an undergraduate. Many advisors and professors had a positive impact on me throughout my college career. Advisors encourage and support students as they strive to set goals and develop lifelong-learning beliefs and opinions. I want to be there to assist students at their best and worst times and to express my appreciation through helping others.”


Vianela deeply appreciates the time she spent as a Crusader. “My experience was amazing,” she says. “The Crusade inspired me to believe in myself. It helped me build self-confidence and determination and focus on my dreams and aspirations.” She particularly recalls the Saturday programs while she was in elementary school. “I can honestly say these programs helped me appreciate education more,” she adds. “It was a great opportunity to know what tools were needed to be successful in the future.”


Vianela is also grateful for her College Crusade scholarship. “Being a scholarship recipient took a burden off my shoulders and, most of all, my mother’s. I was able to attend the school of my choice and receive some assistance financially. I had mentors to help me with the admissions process, which helped make my transition from high school to college a great one.”


She offers this helpful advice to Crusaders who are starting college in the fall: “Take full advantage of all opportunities that cross your path. Life is all about challenges and obstacles, and only you have the power to do the things you want to in life. Times may get tough, but if you keep your eyes on the prize you will overcome all obstacles. This journey is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so make it the best.  Never give up and remember to be yourself. As Montaigne said, the greatest thing in the world is to know how to be one’s own true self.”


In her free time, Vianela enjoys being with family and friends and volunteering with youth in her community.

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