Raquel Fernandez

Degree: Bachelor of Public Administration

College/School: Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs

Raquel C. Fernandez has a calling to serve. To meet that call, her goal was to earn a degree in public administration. 

But the road wasn’t easy. In 2000, her father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia while battling Parkinson’s disease. Shortly after, her mother – who had both diabetes and congestive heart failure – passed away.

Raquel, an accounting specialist at FIU Facilities, took up the role of primary caregiver to her father years before his death.

Earning her degree seemed a distant dream. But her supervisors encouraged her to persevere, and thanks to the university’s tuition waiver for full-time employees, she started the program at FIU.

Raquel got involved in the Global Learning Medallion program, where she learned about Paper Airplanes – a nonprofit organization that provides free, virtual tutoring to individuals affected by conflict. Through this organization, she has been working as an English tutor for students all across the globe.

She also participated in an “asset mapping” of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, collecting information about health clinic locations, visa assistance, work permit assistance and legal services for people in those regions. This information was distributed to Syrian refugees in Arab countries.

She says her professors and mentors – Agatha Caraballo, Valerie Patterson and Keith D. Revell – along with her loved ones, have inspired her to discover her true essence and follow her dreams.

Part of the combined BPA/MPA program, she looks forward to graduating with her master’s in public administration in Fall 2020. 

By Alexandria Rodriguez
Communications Intern
Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs