Anabella Santana

Her transfer was extremely smooth, as her associate degree from HCC enabled her to enter with 50 credits toward her bachelor’s degree in social work, and has kept her on target for graduating in the spring of 2019.

Anabella Santana marvels at how much can change in a year. Just last year, Anabella was preparing to head off to the University of South Florida after having earned her Associate of Arts Degree in Sociology at Harford. She is now well into her second year in the social work program at USF. Her transfer was extremely smooth, as her associate degree from HCC enabled her to enter with 50 credits toward her bachelor’s degree in social work, and has kept her on target for graduating in the spring of 2019.

As Anabella finishes her first semester of her senior year, she’s been reflecting on her journey. As a proud “Army brat” who lived in Harford County for seven years, she began at Harford in her senior year of high school. Anabella says she was grateful for excellent professors who encouraged her to pursue her passions.

Her first year at USF was filled with many opportunities, but she believes HCC set the foundation for her success there. “Attending HCC allowed me to explore different classes and learn about my interests, while building a foundation of leadership and passion that I will forever cherish.” While at Harford, Anabella was an excellent and involved student. She was a member of the Student Government Association and served as treasurer. “Being involved with Student Government gave me tools to learn, grow and build my confidence as a student leader. When I came to USF, I was ready to jump in and make the most of attending a large, preeminent four-year university.”

Anabella also completed the Project Lead Certificate at the College. She was the founder and director for “Fashion for Freedom” in spring 2017, which was created to increase awareness of human trafficking in the community and around the world and was an extremely successful student-led event. It raised $1,000, which was donated to Rapha House, an organization Anabella had been involved with since her freshman year of high school.  “Bringing my passions of social justice and education to life through ‘Fashion for Freedom’ was truly humbling. I am so thankful to have had such great support from my fellow peers and the HCC community,” says Anabella. “In addition, I was grateful for the support of Professor Stephanie Hallock through the ‘Fashion for Freedom’ event. She encouraged me to follow through with this goal even when obstacles arose. She was one of my first professors at HCC who encouraged me to find a major that fit my career goals and aspirations.”

USF has given Anabella many opportunities to further her involvement to create positive change in her community, and she continues to advocate for her peers and at-risk populations. She had the privilege of serving as a Student Government student staff member in the academic year of 2017-18 as an event specialist. She also attended Bulls for Service Break, an alternative spring break program that raised awareness of environmental problems and injustices through education, service, and cultural exchange. This past summer, she travelled to Arunachal Pradesh, India with the USF Social Work cohort to study health and social work in indigenous tribes of northeast India.

In addition, Anabella has been recognized by the two most prestigious leadership organizations at USF. First, she was selected as a USF Ambassador, an official student representative for the president of the university. USF Ambassadors work to unify alumni and students while preparing to serve as alumni leaders of tomorrow. They are proudly known on campus and in the community as the “Spirit of USF.” In addition to her regular duties as an Ambassador, Anabella serves as one of two USF Ambassador-Internal Affairs chairs. Second, Anabella’s dedication and genuine love for the University has led to her selection to the Order of the Golden Brahman, the secret leadership organization on campus that seeks to promote, preserve and protect USF through active and engaged alumni leadership around the world and in the Tampa Bay community. Being selected for this organization demonstrates the University’s belief in Anabella’s future impact in social work and her career advocating for at-risk populations.

Anabella is currently wrapping up her last in-class semester before starting her internship in January 2019 as a Family Advocacy and Mental Health intern at MacDill Air Force Base. She hopes to advocate and create better mental health programs for families of active duty and veteran soldiers after graduation. Anabella also plans to attend graduate school for a Master of Social Work degree and to become a licensed clinical social worker.