Florida State University

When Yolday Diaz-Barreto came to The Florida State University, he was met with C.A.R.E., and looking back, the 21-year-old says that made all the difference in the world.

"My most treasured experience at FSU is coming in through C.A.R.E.," he says, referring to The Florida State University Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement.

C.A.R.E.'s mission is to promote retention and graduation of Florida State students who are among the first in their families to attend college. The Center also provides preparation, orientation and academic support for students who, because of economic, cultural or educational circumstances, face unique challenges as they pursue their undergraduate educations.

 "C.A.R.E., in my opinion, is the best transition program available and a very helpful experience," says Diaz-Barreto, who is the first in his family to attend college.

Attracted to The Florida State University by its top-rated College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Diaz-Barreto followed through on an interest in criminal justice he developed in high school.

Diaz-Barreto chose to major in Criminology/Criminal Justice and Political Science. As an Honors in the Major student, he is currently preparing an Honors Thesis focusing on crimes against humanity in Chile.

"What I like about FSU the most is the study environment and the fact that most of the faculty is really passionate about what they do. This allows me to embrace what I am doing and to be passionate about what I can do, as well," says Diaz-Barreto, who is a senior and anticipates graduating with a bachelor's degree in May 2010.

A dean's list and president's list scholar, Diaz-Barreto belongs to Phi Eta Sigma; the National Society of Collegiate Scholars; and Golden Key International Honour Society, for which he is the honorary member liaison.

"I have chosen to participate in these organizations because they are prestigious, have value and are very respectable," he says.

What's more, Diaz-Barreto has worked to reactivate the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society, "of which," he says, "if everything goes well, I would be the president."

Although he has his short-term goals clearly in sight, Diaz-Barreto admits he is still considering his post-graduation options.

"I am indecisive right now," he says. "I would like to continue my education, but I don't know what I would like to do." Diaz-Barreto says he is considering perhaps pursuing a master's or a law degree. Or, he could see himself going to work for a federal agency, he says.

Whatever he chooses, Diaz-Barreto credits his education at The Florida State University for giving him a firm foundation to build on.

"The impact that FSU has had on me is that it has helped me value research," he explains, "and it has broadened my understanding of being a scholar, which I think would ultimately help me in future endeavors."

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