Blazing a New Trail

Blazing a New Trail

Angelica Muñoz is a senior now, but four years ago she blazed a new trail in coming to Saint Mary's. Raised outside Atlanta, Georgia in a family of Colombian descent, she says, “My family is traditional and in some ways my life was sheltered before beginning my college career. I was the first person in my family to attend a college away from home. When I graduate, I will also be the first to finish a college degree.”

“In high school I was shy; I wouldn't voice my opinion or raise my hand,” she adds. “But it's different being at Saint Mary's. Professors here seem interested in what I have to say and there's never a wrong or right answer. As a women's college that concentrates on what women think, we are encouraged to voice our opinions even more.”

Angelica's professors also encouraged her to explore new intellectual interests. “I started out as a biology major, because I wanted to be a medical missionary. But after I took my first developmental psychology class, I was captivated and made psychology my new major,” she says. The class involved observing the motor and cognitive development of kids at a childcare center on the Saint Mary's campus. “I loved both spending time with these kids and doing the academic work—so much so that Professor [Beth] O'Connor, who taught the class, encouraged me to pursue a career in child development”.

“You can believe in yourself, but when someone else believes in you, it makes the biggest difference towards reaching the goal you're striving for,” Angelica says.

Angelica studied abroad in Seville, Spain during sophomore year, another big step in her life. “I learned so much in Spain and became so independent that when I got back, my parents said Ya eres una vieja —you're all grown up.”

Throughout her four years of college, spirituality has been important to Angelica. “Encountering that strong faith life on campus adds to the reasons why Saint Mary's feel like home,” she says. “Eventually, I'd like to start my own early childhood center that blends the best practices I've found with faith elements and welcomes children of diverse backgrounds. After my time here, I'm open to seeing wherever God may lead me—that makes it easier to keep blazing a new trail.”