Avila University
AU Spotlight
Submitted October 27, 2010
Grad credits Avila with leading her to fulfillment of lifelong dream

Luciana Santaularia '11
Nursing Major

These days, Luciana Santaularia wishes she was back in the housewares aisle at Mega, the Walmart-style discount retailer in Cusco, the town in Peru where she spent most of her summer.

Life was simpler there. Instead of the umpteen brands of laundry detergent we’re faced with in the U.S., there were two at Mega. Santaularia – she goes by the nickname, Lucy – sees it as analogous to all the choices she has in front of her when she graduates from Avila University in May with her degree in nursing. She wishes it were simpler, like those grocery aisles in Mega. But she knows, largely because of all of the activities and programs she’s studied at Avila and, before that, at Kansas University and abroad, that her options will be plentiful.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (about my future), with graduation coming up,” Santaularia said during a brief study break in the Marian student lounge. “I know what I want to do. I’m just not sure about the path to get there.

“But, I’ll figure it out.”

One thing’s for certain – Santaularia will enjoy every bit of her journey as she strives to find that right path to her next step in life. Through Kansas University’s Global Awareness Program, she’s already experienced multiple cultures. She studied for a semester in Spain, where she intensively studied the Spanish language (“I’m conversational, not quite fluent,” she said). She’s also taken Spanish courses in the U.S. and took courses on the rise of Nazi Germany, History of Spanish Civilizations and Latin American Studies.

"...look around, taste the food, breathe the air, live life. That pretty much sums up my ideals."

She said attending Avila’s nursing school allowed her to easily transition into what she wanted to do and finish her course work on time.

“I wanted a small program,” she said. “One that focused on the individual student more, give us quality help. One of my classes at KU had 1,000 people.”

Santaularia, 22, said she saved money from her nurse’s aide job at Atriums, an assisted living facility in Overland Park, Kan., and signed up with Broader View Volunteers to travel last summer to Peru. There, she volunteered in a government-run health clinic and worked with an after-school program for kids who had to support themselves by selling trinkets on the streets.

She said she also spent time visiting ruins and markets in the area, hiked to Machu Picchu and visited the capital city of Lima.

While in Peru, Santaularia also found out that she’d been awarded Judy Collins Memorial Nursing Scholarship, in honor of a former member of the Advisory Directors of The Research Foundation and health worker who held many of the same ideals as Santaularia herself.

With the scholarship, Santaularia said she received a bookmark that had been handed out at Judy Collins’ funeral back in December of 2009, when she lost her battle with cancer. On the bookmark was a quote from Buddha.

As you walk and hear and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.

“It basically said to look around, taste the food, breathe the air, live life,” she said. “(Collins) was all about giving back, seeing the world and traveling.

“That pretty much sums up my ideals.”

While in Peru, Santaularia said she had two Canadian housemates who worked to establish a global health course at their university that would have a clinic placement in Peru.

“That gave me a perspective of what I want to do,” she said. “I want to do something with global health. Other cultures intrigue me, especially Latin cultures.

“I’d love to go back to South America.”

For Lucy Santaularia, it’s just about finding the right path to get there. And, enjoying the journey. AU