Finding and Building Community at Widener
Maritza Garcia ’25 was attracted to the university’s strong welcoming environment. Now she’s helping to grow that community for others, including for her fellow Latino students.
- School of Nursing
When Maritza Garcia ’25 toured Widener, she felt at home.
“The community felt very welcoming, and I appreciated that,” said Maritza, who had experienced a strong sense of community in high school and was looking to continue that in college.
“I knew that at Widener there would be people by my side, resources. And that was very beneficial, especially going into a hard major,” she said.
Maritza has not been disappointed. The nursing major has found the resources needed to help her successfully transition to Widener and to keep up with her demanding studies.
When I’m here I feel I am welcomed in the community. That’s what has guided me.” — Maritza Garcia '25
Now, Maritza is paying it forward, helping to provide support and a welcoming environment to others on campus, including to her fellow Latino students.
Maritza describes herself as full of energy, always smiling, and forever wanting to make sure those around her are well.
“I love making sure people feel like they belong here,” she said. “When people are shy, I introduce myself and try to get them interested in an activity.”
To that end, Maritza became a resident assistant and a C.R.E.W. Leader, helping incoming first-year students acclimate to campus. She is also a pride mentor, helping to advise another nursing student.
“I use my own experiences. I had trouble taking notes and studying when I first arrived. Now I want to show other mentees how not to fall into that trap,” she said.
During her first year on campus, Maritza attended a university fair to learn more about the student organizations on campus. As she looked around, she noticed something missing – no group representing Latino students or culture.
By her second year on campus, Maritza, and others, had restarted Latinos Unidos, a student club that had once existed on campus. Maritza is serving as president in its first year back.
“We have a big support group working together and it’s amazing,” she said.
With its 30 members, the club runs events and programs to educate the campus and to celebrate Latin culture, including food, music, and dance. “It’s a community and I love to see the smile on people’s faces,” said Maritza.
An aspiring neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurse, Maritza has a personal connection to the profession. Her younger brother was born three months early and spent the first several months of his life in a NICU.
It was a difficult time for her family, but Maritza clearly remembers the support the nursing staff showed her brother and her mother.
“The nursing staff all worked together. It was a community making sure my family was OK,” said Maritza, who was inspired to offer that same level of support to other families.
“I want to show a family everything is going to be OK and to see the smiles on their faces,” said Maritza, who chose Widener’s School of Nursing – one of the top 30 private nursing schools in the nation, according to Nursing Schools Almanac – to reach that goal.