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The Privilege of Academic Challenges

Joselyn Salazar ’23

“I was privileged enough that my scholarships allowed me to fully dedicate myself to my career. The truth is that the financial support allowed me to be more than just a student on campus.”

If the future depends on investing in youth, then Moravian made a sound decision supporting Joselyn Salazar ’23 in her desire to attend the university as a political science major. 

After migrating from Ecuador to Allentown with her family just nine short years ago, Salazar was introduced to the academic options in the Lehigh Valley through discussions with a guidance counselor and attendance at a college fair. Although navigating high school and the college admissions process was challenging, Salazar’s choice for a higher education home was clear. 

“Moravian stood out to me because of its history as the first college to educate women and because of its flexible study-abroad programs,” says Salazar. “Plus, I attended schools where the student-to-teacher ratio was small. By attending Moravian, I knew that, apart from receiving a quality education, I would be part of a tight circle of scholars.”

Scholarship is an important part of Salazar’s life. Her parents attended college in Ecuador, so advanced learning was also expected of her. Moravian’s financial and academic aid kept the university within reach.

“Moravian University offered me one of the best financial packages,” adds Salazar. “I was privileged enough that my scholarships allowed me to fully dedicate myself to my career. The truth is that the financial support allowed me to be more than just a student on campus.”

To Salazar, that meant developing meaningful relationships with professors and building a network that opened the door to opportunities outside the classroom. She served as treasurer and president of the Black Student Union and conducted and presented independent research at the Northeastern Political Science Association Conference in Boston. She also applied for a Fulbright Scholarship in Spain.

Salazar credits Professor Jane Berger for introducing her to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) events and Professors Faith Okpotor, Claudia Mesa, and Sandra Guilar for encouraging her to become involved with Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR). These experiences, her background as an immigrant, and her interest in world politics gave her a cogent vision of her future, which includes a master’s degree and working for the Department of State or an international governmental organization like the United Nations. 

Joselyn Salazar with Professor

“It is important for me to know that I am giving back and using the knowledge I acquired during my studies to contribute to a more just and peaceful world,” states Salazar. “My education at Moravian has allowed me to focus my interests on international security and the developing world, particularly Latin America. I aspire to one day be able to do field work or volunteer abroad so that I can foster closer relationships with the people from whom I am trying to learn.”

Giving back to other students in the future is just as important to Salazar. As a recipient of the William Randolph Hearst Annual Scholarship Fund and Richard DiMotta Memorial Scholarship Fund, she knows this generous support made her Moravian experience meaningful and that the Lighting the Way campaign will create the same opportunities for others. “As a recipient of multiple scholarships, I acknowledge how much easier they made my academic career,” says Salazar. “For this reason, I would love to donate back to the office of DEI and SOAR, which have so enriched my university experience.” 

With graduation on the horizon for Salazar, she has some wise advice for those matriculating after her: “When I began my studies at Moravian, I feared the academic challenges that would come ahead. Today, I recognize how privileged I was to have that be my main concern. Don’t be shy to foster positive working relationships with your professors and peers, as the connections you make today will endlessly influence your professional future.”