Student Ambassador Spotlight: Meet Diego!

Creative writing major Diego Cardenas dreams of crafting stories that make a positive change in the world. 

Why did you choose Western?

The reason I decided to attend Western was that it was an opportunity to also live in another state where I would be able to try something new and grow as a person in a new environment. Western has offered an exceptional platform to broaden my horizons. The moment I set foot on Western's campus, I was captivated by its stunning architecture of Old Main, Edens Hall, and the library, above all else the breathtaking scenery that seemed to transport me to another world. Overall, my experience at Western has been nothing short of awe-inspiring.

What do you like about Western?

Trees, trees, trees, the refreshing clean air, the vast amount of trails, beaches, the amazing views, and of course the outdoor activities. Here at Western, the professors want you to succeed and students are willing to lend a helping hand. I appreciate the emphasis on critical thinking and diverse perspectives fostered by professors and engaging classroom environments. Beyond academics, being a student ambassador has allowed me to enhance my communication skills and connect with the community, which is invaluable for my career development.

How is your student ambassador experience? What are your duties?

As a student ambassador, I engage with alumni and current students, honing vital communication skills essential for my future career. It's a role that allows me to represent Western and contribute to its vibrant community. I have been able to engage with donors and alumni at scholarship dinners, and sporting events at the Carver Gym Hall of Fame. The training we have received as ambassadors has helped me meet some amazing lead ambassadors. My ambassador experience has opened up my eyes to the behind-the-scenes work that goes into engaging the Western community. The ambassador experience has allowed me to connect with some people that I would probably never cross paths with.

Which professors do you work with? What is your favorite class? If not in a declared major yet, what is your area of interest?

Professor Christopher Wise in the English Department had a significant impact on me during my first visit to Western. His class at Western sparked my interest in the university. Along the way, Professor Wise has helped me acclimate to this new environment. The professors of the Honors College have created a stimulating environment that really drew me away from other colleges that I was pursuing. I have enjoyed various physical education courses that have allowed me to learn and grow and also have fun. As an English major in Creative Writing, my interests are in areas that challenge and inspire critical thinking.

I was able to be part of the FIG program during my first quarter and this really helped me connect with students and build a community. The combination of the FIG and the Honors program has allowed me to build connections which to me is an important part of the college experience.

Are you the beneficiary of philanthropy at Western? If so, how has that made a difference for you? If not, are any of your friends or classmates, and if so, what impact has it had on them?

I'm delighted to say that I am the recipient of the WWU's (WUE) Western Undergraduate Exchange scholarship. This has been an extraordinary opportunity that has allowed me to be an out-of-state student. The scholarship has not only provided me with financial aid, but has also enabled me to pursue my interests and aspirations to explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I am deeply appreciative of the support and the opportunities that have come my way as a result of this scholarship.

What would you like to say to someone who has made a gift to support Western students and programs?

In this time when college is an expensive endeavor, students need all the help they can get. The support of donors contributes to the next generation of leaders. As a Western student, we would like to say thank you for your generous contribution to the hard-working students who are looking to make a positive impact on our world. I am extremely appreciative of those who have given gifts or donations to Western students and programs as it has allowed students to enjoy and thrive at Western.

What do you do when you aren’t in class?

When I'm not in class, I enjoy reading fantasy novels and staying active through sports and exercise. Balancing my mental and physical well-being is crucial for handling life's challenges.

If I am not on the pitch playing soccer or play tennis with some friends, I am usually running on the trails or on the track. I currently work as a WWU student ambassador and also as a Peer Advisor with Career Services. Between work, class, and studying, I do my best to appreciate where I am and the opportunity I have by being here. I often explore Bellingham and its beauty. I love to be outdoors and connect with others. You might find me at the comic book store or Avenue Bread for brunch. The place I spend most of my time is our Student Recreation Center, enjoying a good workout, so I can focus on my studies.

Where is your happy place either on campus or in Bellingham?

My happy place is soaking in the beauty of the Western campus, surrounded by nature's tranquility, even during the colder seasons. It's a reminder of the special environment that Western offers with us being so close to both the forest and sea, rich with wandering trails and rocky beaches. A place you might find me is in our student recreation center or the piano room teaching myself how to play a new song. Playing music helps my soul and helps me come to peace with the noise of the world.

What are your professional dreams and goals? Where could you see yourself in five years?

In terms of my professional aspirations, I am deeply passionate about becoming a writer, someone who can craft words that inspire, motivate, and encourage people to be the best version of themselves. I also aspire to be a catalyst for positive change, someone who can spark conversations, bring people together, and create a ripple effect that leads to a better world.

As I look ahead to the next five years, I see myself traveling the world and taking concrete steps to achieve these goals. I envision myself honing my writing skills, finding ways to establish my own publishing company and learning from the best, and pushing myself to explore new genres and styles. I also see myself actively seeking out opportunities to contribute to causes that help uplift others and help them smile. I like to see people laugh and not take life so seriously. Life is pretty stressful, so I want to find joy in what I do in my profession and help others find their joy along the way.

Ultimately, my dream is to make a meaningful impact on the world, both through my writing and my actions. I hope to inspire others to laugh on this journey, to work together towards a brighter future, and to create a world that is more just, joyful, and compassionate for all.

Interested in becoming or getting to know our student ambassador program? Go to this link.