Daniela Maquera Sardon recently sat down with the Diplomatic Envoy to recall her experiences at Seton Hall University. Daniela migrated to New Jersey at age fifteen from Peru and graduated from Seton Hall University in 2021 as the university valedictorian with a Diplomacy and Economics major and an Asian Studies minor. She proceeded to do a remote exchange student at Stockholm University in Development Economics; she is now working with Mercy Corps as an intern while studying at Fudan University for her Master of Science in World and Chinese Economy on a Chinese Government Scholarship.
Just beginning her studies at Fudan in 2021, she received an EMA Research Camp in Chinese Economy and Finance Certificate and expects to graduate in July 2023. She is focused on enhancing education and poverty eradication through her research projects, programs, and studies.
During her time at Seton Hall, she participated in the Latino Student Organization, Adelante, and became the Chief Financial Officer. Being a part of the organization for all four years was integral to her growth. The leader of the Latino Student Organization, Ana Campoverde, was one of the first people at Seton Hall to help her speak up and develop her confidence in her skills. Ana Campoverde helped Daniela find her first internship and was supportive from the beginning to the end. The undergraduate research Diplomacy Lab brought “richness to her college experience” and developed her newfound interest in research and writing. This was a great space for her to explore where to go from college and be intentional with her plans. Her other engagements were in the Buccino Leadership Institute, the University Honors Program, the Global Current, and the Diplomatic Envoy.
Through her experiences in classes and extracurriculars, she found a great support system that supplemented her college experience. She recalled Dr. Huddleston of the DiploLab, who was the first professor to tell her she was a good writer. He encouraged her to co-write papers and gain her a sense of confidence. Before faculty support, Daniela carried her high school shyness of English not being her first language. Gratefully, she was able to connect to teachers who pushed her and felt less alone in navigating her future. She also referred to the support of Dr. Goldfrank, who encouraged her to send her senior thesis to a journal, Dr. Santangelo, who was her collaborator in submitting the paper, and Dr. Chen, who introduced her to the option to study at Fudan University. She greatly praised the assistance of Mary Mountcastle, as well as Dr. Price and Dean Halpin. Daniela emphasized that “all the work I did was not just what I did” – it was with her community of support at Seton Hall. She keeps in touch with many of them today.
Daniela encourages students to “be more curious”, recalling her growing confidence with her constant exploration of organizations and connecting with faculty. Her various opportunities and successes signaled to her the importance of “starting with time” and “getting your feet wet with information.” She emphasized asking for help and being intentional in spending time and energy.
Daniela saw her time at Seton Hall as an opportunity to absorb as much as possible and to be open-minded to new experiences. She developed a great understanding of the benefit of learning and all the impact an education can have on her goal to help eradicate poverty.
She concluded by encouraging the students of Seton Hall to “challenge themselves by following their passion and by being compassionate as well.” Her purposeful and meticulous studies and work to eradicate poverty is something that comes from her heart and hits close to home. Daniela is a shining reminder to students who are under pressure and competitive environments to not only persevere but also bring kindness to it.