Aaaaand I’m back. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Ardi Mendoza. I have the pleasure of being the newest addition to the admissions counseling staff at Johns Hopkins University. I am a 2012 graduate of JHU, where I majored in neuroscience and have a minor in Spanish for professions. As the title of this blog suggests, I’m ready for a few more years at Hopkins after just finishing the last four and am very lucky to be hired back as a new admissions counselor.
To start things off, like my colleague and Class of 2012 graduate/new admissions counselor Admissions_Laurin, I too have an interesting story about my name. To clarify, my first name, Ardi, is not short for anything (no Arthurs, Arturos, or even the shorter, but often proposed, Artey). I got my name from my parents, Ramon and Dulce, who took the first letters of their first names and added them together. Always thinking ahead, they didn’t want my name to just be two random consonants, so they added the A and I vowels to preserve the sound RD and add some character. Because of that, I’ve always been fascinated by the history and reasons behind names (onomastics for all those vocabulary buffs out there). It certainly helps to be working at a school with a name history as rich as mine, JohnS Hopkins! (To find out what that history is, you can check out http://apply.jhu.edu/facts/history.html. Also, to make sure you never forget it, read this blog written by JHU_Lucie: Once and For All.)
I am originally from Waldwick, NJ, a suburban town in northern New Jersey. After graduating from the local public school in my town, Waldwick High School (Warrior Pride!), I came over to JHU in fall 2008. As a neuroscience major, I was able to learn all about the intricacies of the human nervous system and the nervous systems of other living organisms from an amazing faculty. I took some incredible classes on some of the big topics in the neuroscience field today such as Psychopharmacology, Diseases and Disorders of the Nervous System, and Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. I also had the opportunity to research the effects of different genes and their associations with brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
However, not all my time was spent in science labs. I took Spanish classes throughout my four years at Hopkins and was able to study abroad for a summer in Salamanca, Spain. After spending 5 weeks at one of the oldest universities in Europe, the University of Salamanca, my friend and I took 2 weeks to travel around to 8 different countries (Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, England, Portugal, and back to Spain). For anyone who follows soccer, that was the summer of 2010, when I got to watch Spain win the World Cup in Barcelona, Spain. To this day, I still remember the packed Plaça d’Espanya with flags waving and fireworks going off (I also may have jumped in a fountain or two with the locals during the celebration). With these experiences, I was able to start a Spanish internship in the Esperanza Center in Fell’s Point, Baltimore, where I translated for medical professionals and helped patients find ways to finance their treatments.
My experiences at Hopkins went much farther than just the classroom. Here at JHU, I was a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), where I was a class senator the first two years, class president my junior year, and executive president of the SGA my senior year. Along with that, I was a member of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon here on campus and did a little acting as well. Much of my time was spent at the admissions office, where I volunteered as a tour guide in our Blue Key Society, a prospective student host for our Hopkins Hosting Society, and a student interviewer for our Admissions Representative Program. I even wrote a guest blog or two for Hopkins Interactive; one of which can be found here: The Hopkins 500: One of the Many Myths About Hopkins. Eventually, I worked for admissions as a member of the Public Relations staff and as an intern for the admissions officers in the spring of my senior year.
My time at Hopkins was a fantastic college experience, filled with friends and memories that will last me forever. I lived in AMR II Baker House my freshmen year with a group of people who became my closest friends throughout college. We were involved all over campus, and through them, I was able to experience everything the campus had to offer. MSE and FAS Speaker events, a cappella concerts, club sports events, lacrosse games in the spring time, Spring Fair weekends…we did them all. Years later, I know I will still be close to all of these people and come back to campus to attend all these events with them. But for now, I’m really excited to have some more time to do it all again, especially since my sister is now here as a rising sophomore.
With my involvement in the Hopkins Insider blog (and through my twitter role…follow me @Admissions_Ardi), I hope to present a useful perspective of the undergraduate experience that readers might not necessarily get everywhere. Being a recent Hopkins alum, I can really talk about everything that goes on here from both my own memories and from my sister’s experiences (hopefully, I can rope her into writing a blog or two). Like Admissions_Laurin, I too hope to provide another important a view of our school: the life of a Hopkins grad, including work life, future plans and aspirations, and how I plan to translate all of my great experiences at Hopkins into new post-grad experiences. I look forward to writing for the Hopkins Insider and helping all of you in the admissions process.