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This week, we’re featuring our #VertoBound 2021 Raffle winner – Danitza Velazquez! As the Verto Bound Raffle Winner, Danitza will study with Verto in Costa Rica this fall, followed by Spain this spring. Her roundtrip airfare will be fully sponsored by Verto Education!

5 Fun Facts About Danitza Velazquez

Verto attracts adventurous, ambitious, and compassionate students and Danitza is no exception!  Read on to learn 5 Fun Facts about this INCREDIBLE student!

Danitza started a local food bank

Danitza & the members of her local Food Bank!

1. Danitza is super active in her community!

“The community here is mostly Hispanic, and I grew up as the oldest child in my family,” Danitza said. Danitza’s highest values are pursuing an education and giving back to her local community, which inspired her involvement in her hometown.

“It sounds funny, but one of my favorite things to do is volunteer.” In high school, Danitza started a local food bank through the Lion’s Club. “It was like home to me,” she said, describing how her volunteer community ended up feeling more like a second family. 

Danitza at Future Farmers of America

Future Farmers of America played a central role in Danitza’s high school experience!

2. Danitza’s passion for travel started when she joined FFA

“I’ve always played sports, but joining FFA (Future Farmers of America) is really what inspired me to start traveling,” said Danitza. Her first trips outside of San Joaquin Valley were to Pasadena, California and Iowa State University. At Iowa State, Danitza participated in an Agricultural Discovery Program, where she learned about the ins and outs of animal science and the business of agriculture. This was her first trip outside of California, inspiring her to continue traveling.

“All the doubts I had about traveling or doing things on my own were slowly fading away. I valued the friendships I made, and the experience took me out of my comfort zone and made me grow as a person.”

Danitza, posing with members of her local community

Danitza, promoting women’s rights with members of her local community!

3. Danitza chose Costa Rica and Spain because she’s excited to dive deeper into Hispanic cultures

“I chose Costa Rica for the language and the people,” she said. Danitza is fluent in Spanish and is also choosing to complete a second Verto semester in Spain. She’s excited to learn new colloquialisms and bond with local communities, in addition to her fellow classmates!

Danitza with a goat

Danitza raised livestock and bred goats throughout high school!

4. Danitza wants to change the world of Animal Sciences & Agriculture

“I always used to say I’d become a veterinarian, but I want to keep an open mind while I’m studying with Verto.” 

Danitza’s interest in Animal Sciences and Business Agriculture stems from her childhood growing up in an agricultural household.

“I’ve raised livestock for the past four years, breeding goats specifically. It’s taught me to interact with different types of people and perceptions of the agricultural industry. In agriculture, business agriculture specifically, you need a lot of great people to create connections in the industry. You’ve also got to be willing to learn from your past mistakes.”

Danitza described different challenges within farming communities, in addition to the varying perceptions of agriculture within the United States.

“The way I’ve come to terms with it is that we provide for the animal, and in turn, they provide back to us. I want to change how people think about agriculture and certain practices in the industry.”

Danitza and more goats for Future Farmers of America

Danitza, posing with a few of her goats. Aren’t they so cute?!

5. Danitza is the first in her family to go to college

After attending high school, participating in extracurricular and volunteer activities, and working outside of school, Danitza is the first in her family to pursue higher education. When asked what motivated her, she said, “I do it for myself and to help others in my future.” She’s been inspired by coaches at her school and one phenomenal teacher, who pushed Danitza to pursue her dreams and attend university. 

With respect to choosing Verto for her first year of college, Danitza said, 

“I’ve been wanting to travel, but at every point, I couldn’t because of either grades or the costs. I kept an open mind and stayed positive, and then I came across Verto on Snapchat. What made it more real was the amount of people reaching out, helping out step by step, and making this dream come true.”

We are SO excited to be a part of Danitza’s college journey, and we cannot wait to see her continued success over the coming year!

Interested in reading more about where Danitza will be this fall? Check out our blog post on A Day in the Life On a Verto Semester: Costa Rica.