I learned who I am and where I want to be

NAME:Kimberly Cespedes Torres      
HOMETOWN: Santa Ana (San Jose, Costa Rica)
MAJORS: Social work, public health

INVOLVEMENT ON CAMPUS: International Club, Global Connections, Phi Eta Sigma, Social Work Club, student manager at Vogel Library

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg after learning their social work program was the first undergraduate program to exist in Iowa and had one of the best undergraduate programs in the Midwest.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON YOUR MAJORS: I knew I wanted to pursue a “helping” profession. With the assistance of a counselor in high school, I learned that all of my professional aspirations leaned toward a career where I would have the possibility of creating and developing new social programs that would help individuals, families, and communities.  

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: Pursue my master’s degree in social work, with a social impact leadership concentration and research specialization at a top social work school.

DID YOU DO ANY INTERNSHIPS WHILE AT WARTBURG: I worked as a respite caregiver for children with physical and cognitive disabilities. I also served as a research associate with the Slife Social Work Institute, worked as a community living specialist with a client with autism and as a day habilitation specialist at North Star Community Services. My social work field experience was at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank in Waterloo, Iowa, and my senior social work practicum was at Every Child Pediatrics in Denver, Colo.  

Kimberly Cespedes Torres

HOW DID WARTBURG PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: I am proud to be close to graduating from the social work program at Wartburg and of who I have become through the program. I did not just learn about how to work with individuals, communities, families,  and policies. I learned about myself, my family, who I am and where I want to be.  

DO YOU HAVE ANY MENTORS ON CAMPUS: Lynn Peters, Tammy Faux, Zafrul Amin, Meredith Borchardt, Kassy Grosser, Jennifer Onuigbo, Bret Billet … many of them have been very supportive, I can’t probably mention all of them on this list!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG MEMORY: I have countless good memories at Wartburg, but I will probably always remember every International Student Orientation. Seeing students arrive with so many dreams and expectations was very rewarding. It is also rewarding to see them grow through their years here and see them developing in their careers and fulfilling their dreams. Every meeting and moments with my adviser and mentors are memories I will also always carry with me.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Be passionate about your work, whatever it is. Be grateful for the opportunities you have and make the most of them. There will be times of confusion and difficulty, so do not hesitate to ask for help. The support network that is out there is stronger than you think.

WHY IS WARTBURG WORTH IT: Wartburg was worth it thanks to the people who make up Wartburg, from the Board of Regents to all the Dining Services and Maintenance staff and student workers who work very hard every day to make this place function successfully and be warm and welcoming to everyone. It was worth it because amid imperfections and ups and downs, students like me and many others have been able to thrive and grow to be successful adults.