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Celebrating the Class of 2013: Sophia Olazaba

‘If you try really hard and you work really hard and you are really kind, anything is possible.’

Monday May 06, 2013


When 23-year-old Sophia Olazaba of Crown Point enrolled at IU Northwest, she had planned to become a nurse. But the more involved she became in clubs on campus, the more she realized she is a community steward of a different type.

Olazaba is graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

ALMA, the campus Latino organization, gave her a taste of advocating for causes she believes in, and this involvement led her to other organizations in her community.

“I really liked being involved with the community,” Olazaba said. “It probably sounds cliché, but it really helped me find myself.”

Riding a bus to Washington, D.C. with the Community Coalition of Immigrants served as one of those defining moments.

“It wasn’t until I was on the bus studying for an A&P (anatomy and physiology) exam, that I realized my heart’s desire was political science,” she said.

Olazaba said that the journey to graduation was difficult at times. Taking on a second job and caring for her father who had been in a serious accident, posed challenges.

Still, she persevered and will now own the title of being the first in her immediate family to earn a college degree.

Olazaba’s father worked many hours in order to pay for her education, even having to miss seeing some of her other graduations because he had to work.

“He struggled and worked to make it happen. I owe him a lot,” she said.

Olazaba hopes to attend law school in the fall and pursue a career in family law, specifically as an advocate for children.

About the Class of 2013: Indiana University Northwest conferred 854 degrees at the 47th Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 9, 2013. The Class of 2013 collectively received 123 associate’s degrees, 606 bachelor’s degrees and 125 master’s degrees. More than a hundred of the graduates have earned their diploma with honors.

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