Commencement Profile: Vanessa Tercero

By Deserae E. del Campo

Commencement Profile: Vanessa Tercero

By Deserae E. del Campo
Seeking a college experience within a diverse community, this graduate found her home away from home at the University of Miami.

Vanessa Tercero did not start her academic career as a UM freshman. As a matter of fact, she left her hometown of Philadelphia to attend Elon University in North Carolina. But after her freshman year at Elon, she decided it was time to follow her heart.

“I have always envisioned myself at the University of Miami and there’s a part of me that regrets not being here during my freshman year,” said Tercero, “but I’m glad it all worked out at the end.”

She said one of the reasons she chose UM was because of its diversity. 

“During my first semester at UM, I remember every dorm had a tag on the door with students’ names and where they were from. On my floor alone there were dozens of countries represented, and I thought, ‘Wait, am I on an international floor?!’ It was amazing.”

Like all college freshman struggling to find a major, Tercero dabbled in biology before she found the career path that was perfect for her. 

Tercero, who was born in Honduras, earned a major in Psychology and a minor in Human and Social Development. She would like to continue her studies and eventually earn a Ph.D. in the field.

“I have loved every psychology course here at UM,” said Tercero. “Attending class never felt like a burden to me. I was always engaged and always ready to learn. That’s how I knew that this would be my future career path. Now, I want to help others using the knowledge and resources shared with me by my professors.”

“Vanessa is a wonderful student to have in the class,” said Marie Guerda Nicolas, professor in the Department of Educational & Psychological Studies. “She is thoughtful and a deep thinker who always came to class ready to learn and engage in the materials.”

Tercero will miss her colleagues and “second family” at the Office of Undergraduate Academic Services, where she served as a Peer Advising Liaison.

“I really, really loved that position,” said Tercero. “I did my very best to empathize with students who were stressed or frantic about their course schedules. Making sure they left the office feeling better about the situation was always my top priority.”

Tercero would like to share some advice with the incoming freshman class at the U: “Always carry an umbrella! But seriously, as college students, we get so wrapped up in our busy schedules that we often forget how big of an accomplishment it is to even be a college student. Celebrate even your smallest achievements and be proud of who you are becoming.”

Celebrating this momentous occasion with Tercero is her mother and father, grandmother, siblings and extended family who arrived from Honduras and Texas.