Cárdenas danced in his in Nebraska | Nebraska today
Anamaría Guzmán Cárdenas is not going to shut herself up. She never did and it served her well.
She always followed opportunities that seemed right to her and that piqued her curiosity. So, as a high school student in Bogota, Colombia, she followed her intuition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“I had never heard of Nebraska, but an (education) agency we were working with was having a presentation about it,” Cárdenas said. “Something in me said to go, try it.”
Cárdenas’ interactions with then-recruiting specialist Brent Schmoker, along with others at the university, solidified his decision to make Nebraska the next step in his college career.
“They have shown that they care throughout the process,” Cárdenas said. “Instead of scrolling through a computer swamped with all the paperwork, there’s someone to help you. And that makes all the difference, especially for our parents, because parents are also the most important part of the decision-making process.
Cárdenas quickly found his footing on campus, but being away from his parents was difficult. She found community, however, and through activities that included being a new student registrar and a member of the international student hospitality team, Cárdenas developed leadership skills that ‘she didn’t know she could.
Cárdenas initially specialized in psychology, but neuroscience attracted more. As a child, she had always loved science and the brain fascinated her in particular.
“Why are people the way they are? What drives them? What motivates them? Cárdenas said. “There are all these amazing questions, and it’s so complex, but I think I’ve always thought that understanding the brain is how we understand ourselves, because in reality, it’s the machine that makes us feel. anime. It is this beautiful organ that allows us to be aware, to be aware and to experience the world.
Cárdenas wanted to major in neuroscience – then learned the major didn’t exist. She spoke with her advisor and some faculty members about her interests and aspirations. Finally, they found a way. Cárdenas worked with Scott Stoltenberg, associate professor of psychology, to develop an individual study program with a track in neuroscience. She added biology and chemistry minors.
“I considered myself pre-medical and wanted to be a doctor,” she said. “My, how things have changed.”
As well as having always loved science, Cárdenas also grew up with a love of dance. She has never had any formal training, but dance is part of the cultural fabric of her country.
“We are a social culture and known for dance,” Cárdenas said. “We grew up learning all of these dances – salsa, merengue. They were all part of the way we celebrated.
In college, Cárdenas joined the Ballroom Dance Club, a registered student organization, and learned the foxtrot, waltz and tango, finding herself even more drawn to dance.
Despite the deleterious effects of COVID-19, Cárdenas was able to find a silver lining in exploring more of the world of dance while in quarantine with her roommates. She discovered that dance was used as a form of therapy for many health problems, including neurodegenerative diseases.
It was like a fluke.
“I felt a little bit exhausted from the science and had a really tough semester,” Cárdenas said. “I love him so much, but I felt like I wasn’t on fire anymore. I really loved dancing. It was helping me through my forties so much, keeping me sane.
“I felt like dancing had the power to change my mind. I went on Google and started looking for careers that could kind of mix dance and science, and found the masters in dance program as therapy. “
Cárdenas also decided to take formal dance training by taking dance classes at the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts in the fall and spring semesters of the 2020-2021 academic year. This helped her gain acceptance into Lesley University’s Masters in Movement and Dance Therapy program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she will begin in the fall, after graduating in Nebraska on May 8. . There are only a handful of such programs in the United States. States.
“I’m really excited to be a part of something so new and innovative,” she said. “I hope to someday have my own dance and neuroscience research lab, where we use dance to better understand our brains and treat disease.”
Despite a difficult transition to college life so far from home, academic headaches when classes seemed impossible and the hardships of a global pandemic, Cárdenas said her time in Nebraska had been transformative.
“I don’t regret these difficulties and challenges, because that’s when you learn your most important lessons,” Cárdenas said. “Through discomfort, we learn the lessons that we must learn for ourselves and our path.”