The Clarion

Candice Cardoza wants to help first generation students find success

Candace+Cardoza+is+the+new+Programs+and+Activities+and+Clubs+advisor+at+Madison+College.
Candace Cardoza is the new Programs and Activities and Clubs advisor at Madison College.

Candace Cardoza is the new Programs and Activities and Clubs advisor at Madison College.

Candace Cardoza is the new Programs and Activities and Clubs advisor at Madison College.

Brian Lawler, News Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






This semester, students will be seeing a friendly, smiling face throughout the halls and around the Student Life offices. Candice Cardoza will be easing into her new role as a Student Program Advisor. In her new role, Cardoza hopes to help create programs and a stronger campus community for students so that they might also come to her seeking direction for their clubs and organizations.

Cardoza attended the University of Texas at San Antonio where she completed her bachelor’s degree, coupled with certifications, in Interdisciplinary Studies. Cardoza’s goal was to become a teacher, instructing elementary and middle schoolers in Language Arts, English, and Social Studies. Cardoza’s enthusiasm is rooted deeply in a desire to instruct and help guide others.

She strongly believes in the power of learning and education. Her mother completed high school, but her brothers and father dropped out before graduating. This makes Cardoza a first-generation college graduate with not just a bachelor’s degree, but also a master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. Her parents and grandparents supported her endeavor to finish school and earn a bachelor’s degree.

During high school, she breezed through classes. Upon entering college at UTSA, she was rudely awoken. She realized, “I had to go to class. I had to take and read notes,” said Cardoza. Although her family was very supportive, Cardoza still struggled with the adjustment from high school to college. Confused and overwhelmed by the inherent stress of attending college, Cardoza’s grades began to slip. This led to her academic dismissal for a semester, something she takes absolute responsibility for.

When she came back, she swore her grades were going to change. Through good old-fashioned hard work and grit, Cardoza was able to take a 1.6 GPA and boost it to a 3.1. For the remainder of her time studying at UTSA, she taught elementary and middle school students in after school programs. During this time, Cardoza faced a new obstacle: she realized that elementary and middle school students were not the right fit for her. There was no doubt that she loved her students deeply, but she wanted to have adult conversations with them, or she felt diminished by a lack of parental involvement and student cooperation.

Armed with a renewed determination she returned to her advisor to find out what she should do. It was suggested that she try out admissions, something she had sworn she’d never do. But, feeling lost and looking to carve out a direction, Candice applied. Between finishing her undergraduate and attending graduate school, she worked in the admissions office at UTSA.

She described this transition in her life as a “very scary feeling when you go to school for so long thinking this is what I want to do and it turns out this isn’t what you want to do in the very end.” But this impossible twist of fate, unknown to her at the time, altered her path irrevocably

During her time in admissions, she worked with high school students, primarily seniors and eventually college freshmen. It was then that she realized this was the student population she aspired to guide and collaborate with.

I felt more respect from a freshman in college than I did a middle school student … It seemed as though their (the middle school students’) attitudes were, you’re not my mom, why should I respect you,” said Cardoza. She attributes this respect from garnering life experiences that makes the college student wiser, more so than a wise-cracking 12-year-old. Her primary focus was to help students with just about everything related to preparing for college: the application process, essay writing and submission, test prep and scores, and applying for financial aid.

Once a confused college student, who was struggling to maneuver the puzzling labyrinth of higher education, Cardoza was utilizing her hard-earned experienced and concentrated wisdom to aid incoming college students.

Cardoza stayed in this role at UTSA for two years, but eventually felt it was time to move on and apply to graduate school and earn her Master’s degree in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis. She applied to many universities, including LSU, Minnesota, and colleges around Texas.

Her boyfriend, Brian, a Wisconsin native who she met while on vacation in Colorado and is now her fiancé, suggested that she apply to UW-Madison. She swears she didn’t know where Wisconsin was on a map at the time, but she applied anyway and was soon accepted. During the Fall of 2015, she moved across the country in pursuit of higher education.

Even though minus-27 isn’t the best, I’d take it over 102 degrees any day. At least Wisconsin has seasons. We don’t have seasons in Texas. It’s a rainy fall and a hot summer,” said Cardoza. She admits that, down the road, she’d like to return to Texas to “plant roots.” Pursuing a degree beyond that of a bachelor’s is one her proudest achievements.

Cardoza is now a month into starting her role at Madison College. She feels Madison College is “homier” than the other schools she’s worked for.

“I thought this building was a lot bigger than it actually is, but it’s still very confusing. Why is this C and this all of a sudden D?” said Cardoza. She now feels “a lot more confident” about her skills to guide herself through campus, in more ways than one, much like she did during her formative years at UTSA.

If you find yourself in the area of Student Life, or your campus organization needs guidance, stop into Cardoza’s office B1260A. Or maybe you fancy some “old lady candy” (mints and butterscotch, mostly) and an energizing chat. Regardless, Madison College is excited to have Cardoza be a part of our campus family.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    Instructor shares experiences working at Antarctic station

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    Clarion earns national recognition at conference

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    Filament Games looks for ways to turn learning into play

  • News

    ‘Limbpossible’ founder shares his success story

  • News

    College’s latest security report is now available

  • News

    Learning to be confident in salary talks

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    WOLFPACK CONNECT

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    Vote for Our Lives Tour

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    OFF THE SHELF

  • Candice Cardoza wants  to help first generation  students find success

    News

    PUBLIC SAFETY

The news site of Madison Area Technical College
Candice Cardoza wants to help first generation students find success