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Photo of Javier Lara Cartagena

Hometown and country: Lepaera, Honduras

Currently lives in: Mundelein

High school: Abundant Life Christian School in Gracias, Honduras

Degree program at CLC: Associate in Engineering Science

Transfer school: University of Minnesota, starting fall 2016, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering

Interests and hobbies: I love music, YouTube, running, skiing, trying new food, learning new languages. I have huge interest in chemistry, math, geography, sustainability and global issues.

Javier Lara Cartagena

When I started applying to colleges during my senior year of high school, I cherished a dream of studying abroad despite the circumstance that neither my family nor I had enough funds to support my ambitions. However, my math teachers, a married couple from the United States, saw my interest and offered to help. After much prayer, they made a big decision to invite me to live with them in Illinois, at no cost, so I could attend a community college near their home.

Attending CLC has been an amazing experience. I am so thankful for all the support and the teachings I have received. CLC has numerous opportunities available for students to succeed in many aspects, and I have worked hard to seize them, even as I have encountered challenges that have helped me grow. My country’s education system left me with knowledge gaps in mathematics and science; however, with the help of my host parents and the CLC faculty, I was able to keep getting good grades in advanced classes. Incredible professors like Jeff Mudrock and Jeanne Simondsen have truly marked my experience. They made their passion for math and science contagious and have always motivated me to thrive in my STEM field. Their recommendation letters helped me become a math and chemistry tutor at the college.

I have also been involved on campus, working three jobs, making many new friends from all over the world, joining clubs, attending conferences and events, doing community service and actively participating in the intercultural life of the college. I am indebted to CLC for the Susan Smith Scholarship award I received for my sophomore year and for all the work hours on-campus I have been given. I have had truly positive experiences and much learning and growth in my positions as a tutor, student ambassador and international student ambassador.

The process of transitioning to a four-year school has been challenging, and the college search has been onerous. However, I was privileged to be admitted to the University of Minnesota, one of the best universities in the United States and the world for chemical engineering. This would have not been possible without my preparation at CLC and all the support from its faculty and staff.

Upon graduation, I hope to strengthen the friendship between the U.S. and Honduras and help my home country work side by side with the U.S. one day, instead of receiving help only. I will work hard to become an accomplished chemical engineer and make CLC harvest good fruits from me.