When Rosa Nieto-Caceres walked onto the stage and received her hood, earning her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology, a global contingent was on hand to cheer her on.
“My family surprised me by coming to Commencement. I have one brother from Wisconsin, another brother and sister-in-law from Chicago, and my in-laws and aunt coming from Peru to support me. Everybody is proud of me.”
With family coming in as far away as Lima, Peru, the importance of the moment really hit home for Nieto-Caceres.
“Our families are close so it is really special to have them come all the way here. This has been a great experience at Loras and this is a nice moment to close it,” she explained.
Nieto-Caceres, a Dubuque resident, looked at continuing her education at a couple of schools, but was sold on Loras after a discussion with Professor of Psychology Mary Johnson, Ph.D.
“When I first met with Mary, I wanted her to convince me because I didn’t know if I wanted to do this or not,” she said. “She told me that the good part of Loras is that we form a family and it isn’t about who gets the best grades. And that was true. In every class, we tried to help each other.”
“The teachers are really into applying what we were learning,” she added. “We could reach them any time that we needed and they were always willing to help.”
Nieto-Caceres sees this degree as the start to a new phase in her life. A self-proclaimed ‘helicopter mom,’ she is looking for new challenges now that they are growing up.
“Since my daughters are graduating and moving on, this is like a second round and I am looking around like, ‘What am I going to do?’ Loras helped a lot and the proof is that I got a job!”
Nieto-Caceres worked as an intern at Hillcrest Family Services in Dubuque as she earned her degree. As her internship wrapped up, she was offered a full-time position that she had been hoping for.
All of the support Nieto-Caceres received from her relatives at Commencement served as a good bookend to her time at Loras.
“The chemistry that Loras has is amazing. It is my alma mater even though I earned my bachelor’s somewhere else. I feel like Loras is my home.”