Exchange student finishes college career with Greater Allegheny

Exchange Student Joyce Cabrera smiling in front of Penn State Greater Allegheny log

Exchange student Joyce Cabrera

Credit: Penn State

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — In the spring semester, seven students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPR-M) were offered an opportunity to attend Penn State’s Greater Allegheny campus in McKeesport. Senior Joyce Cabrera is one of these students.

Cabrera participated in several courses and programs at Greater Allegheny; including a total of four courses, two from Greater Allegheny and two from UPR-M; an internship with the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE); and a research project. With the time she had left, Cabrera served as a tutor in the Gruskin Learning Center.

“I have had opportunities that I never had on my other campus in Puerto Rico,” said Cabrera. “I have connected with a lot of people.”

Cabrera came to Greater Allegheny because it was a chance to attend Penn State, finish her degree, and travel. “I think that opportunities like this shouldn’t be passed on,” said Cabrera.

At ACE, Cabrera served as an event programmer and promoter. She recently finished planning her most significant program, titled "Body Of The Other." The program discussed the Afro-Latino body and how it is portrayed in literature and media. Special guest and Puerto Rican Poet Bonafide Rojas was in attendance to discuss his beliefs. “I am excited that Miss Cabrera put this event on,” said Rojas. “I am excited to be here, it’s a privilege. Penn State is Penn State, it’s a great university.”

Being on campus has helped Cabrera become comfortable and excited about her work. “I have found more pride and enjoyment in what I do,” said Cabrera. “I have seen a lot of growth in myself, in terms that my work is being celebrated.” 

When Cabrera was not bringing new events to campus, she was working on her studies. She completed research that showcases the increasing number of women migrating from Niger and Nigeria and why it is happening.

Cabrera is graduating in June and plans to remain in Pennsylvania. She also hopes to attend University Park in the next two years to earn a master’s degree in international affairs, and a juris doctor.