The New College Experience
November 09, 2015
College is what you make it. For many, it’s the opportunity to build a career. Others seek to amass knowledge and academic expertise. And for some, college is a chance to give back to their community through service opportunities at their institution.
The difference at St. Joseph’s College? Students are not divided into categories of achievement. With an education rooted in the traditional liberal arts, students are provided with a value-orientation education. The final outcome is a conscientious, hard working, worldly young adult. Or Fergie Cantos ’16.
While it’s true that not all students encompass all aspects of our mission, those that do more than make up for who fall short. A senior in the speech pathology program at SJC Brooklyn, Fergie Cantos embodies the values of SJC, and more.
Fergie’s warm personality invite the opportunity to assist others. She knew early on that she wanted to work with people, children in particular.
“What inspired me to go into my major is my passion to help others. I know that my purpose here on earth is to help others and by becoming a speech language pathologist I'll be able to do just that,” Fergie said. “I am very passionate about children and hope to help them in their speech impediment. I have been working with the Stuttering Association for the Young for three years now and I truly love the work that is done by the therapists.”
Along the way, Fergie heeded the call to lead. A former vice president of Poder Latino, secretary of the Speech and Language Club, vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and member of countless other organizations, she now serves as president of the SGA.
Fergie can be found most days in the newly opened student center in the lower level of Tuohy Hall, planning future activities and events, and assisting in the day-to-day governance of the many clubs at SJC Brooklyn. Believe it or not, she wasn’t always this outgoing.
“The biggest challenge that I had to overcome was believing in myself. Before SJC I would always doubt every decision I would make, but I am happy to say that I am in a point in my life where I think I have build my confidence level. I feel like a leader and I feel comfortable leading other students.”
That confidence led her to volunteer and give back however she could. Service trips through SJC to Nicaragua, Argentina and Italy compliment the time Fergie has devoted to time at New York Presbyterian, New York City Park, Our Time, Boys and Girls Club and more.
She recommends each student take full advantage of giving back and studying abroad, not just for the self-fulfillment, but for the difference you can make in a stranger’s life.
“Along with students from the Long Island Campus I was able to go to Nicaragua to help a very unfortunate community. I also met a young girl named Belinda that I decided to sponsor. She was a straight A student that needed someone to believe in her and help her pay for education. Her family was so touched by what I stood for in Belinda's life that they decided to name their recent baby after me. I feel like I have found my purpose in life and that is to serve others no matter the distance.”
Fergie Cantos with President Jack P. Calareso, Ph.D. and the SGA at the new Student Center opening earlier this year.
Fergie’s senior year will be a busy one. In addition to maintaining her 3.9 GPA, Fergie continues to pulls hours assisting children with speech impediments at SAY, works part-time at the local Gymboree and of course devotes most of her days to helping her fellow students as SGA president. Her future is clear. Her goals are set.
“My plan after graduation is to head straight to grad school for two more years and get licensed as a speech language pathologist. I hope to one day open up my own private practice and serve as a bilingual speech therapist. There is such a big demand for bilingual therapists and I want to alleviate that demand so that I can help the Hispanic community get the service they need.”
It’s the SJC experience that has made the difference for Fergie. A genuine and heartfelt young woman, she responds to compassion and the realness of those around her. Not just among her peers, but her professors as well.
“What made me decide to attend SJC were the warm welcomes I received as soon as I stepped foot on campus. I am a very observant person and it was not hard to tell that people at SJC were so genuine. I was able to see how caring and loving the students were to one another and they immediately accepted me into their family.
“I have learned so many valuable things from different professors. Rosemarie Hamlin taught me to just be straight up. She is the most blunt person I have ever met and I love that about her. Maria Montoya is the type of professor that would put her students first no matter what. She has been one of my supporters from day one and has always challenged me in the classroom because she knows that I am capable of digging deeper. Professor Petriano has helped me grow intellectually. He has helped me appreciate the small things in life and not just take them for granted.
“Now that I am entering my senior year of College I can honestly say that choosing SJC has been the best decision that I have made in my life. SJC has given me the confidence to believe in myself and in everything I do.”