Cassandra Madrazo ’19

Cassandra Madrazo
Student | Diplomacy & World Affairs | Class of 2019

Cassandra Madrazo didn’t know what to expect when she began her college search.

On her first campus tour of Oxy, however, things began to fall into place. She learned about the diplomacy and world affairs major and the Kahane United Nations Program during that visit, and her intention to attend Oxy solidified.

Though she admits she may not have fully grasped then what the Oxy experience would mean for her, she knew it was an opportunity she wanted to pursue. Receiving her acceptance to Oxy was one of the most exciting moments for her and her parents, Cassandra recalls. Equally exciting was knowing that there was financial support to help make the dream attainable.

It’s not lost on Cassandra that the financial support she receives allows her to participate more fully in everything Oxy has to offer because she can dedicate more time to these opportunities. Reflecting on the generosity of donors who made this possible, she notes, “Truly, all I feel is gratitude because they’ve changed the trajectory of my life.”

She has used her time at Oxy to focus on academics as a diplomacy and world affairs major, volunteer in the community and participate in Oxy’s U.N. Program. Through these opportunities, her eyes have been opened to new ways to contribute to the world around her.

One experience that stands out amid Cassandra’s considerable involvement at Oxy is the student organization WYSE, Women and Youth Supporting Each Other. Through WYSE, Oxy women mentor middle and high school girls in Eagle Rock, talking weekly about everything from healthy relationships to career opportunities. These connections reinforce Cassandra’s awareness that the education she’s getting at Oxy isn’t just about her. “I’m doing this for myself, but also for my community,” she says.

Last year, through the U.N. program, Casandra spent a semester as an intern with UNICEF which helped set the course for her future. “This completely altered my career path in an extremely positive way,” she says. “It’s because of the connections I made at the U.N. that I feel like I have true direction about what I want to do after graduation, and it doesn't feel as daunting. I know I'm capable of doing it.”

As Cassandra looks toward graduation and what lies ahead for her, she’s grateful for how Occidental has changed her life. Cassandra plans to work for a non-profit before attending law school, and she remains conscious of the personal path that brought her to this point.

“Now the question I think about every day is, how I do I go back to the place I’m from and make it better? That’s what I want to dedicate my life to. And because of the opportunities I’ve had here—the classes I’ve had, the people I’ve met—I know it’s possible.” For most Oxy students, she says, “That’s our goal: To make it better than we left it.”