February 20, 2024 | Matt Kucinski

From Miami, Florida, Isis Reyes Sanchez (middle) is in her first year at Calvin University.

When Isis Reyes Sanchez was in sixth grade, she left Silver Spring, Maryland to attend a fine arts camp in Michigan. Ever since that visit, she wanted to return to the Great Lakes State.

“I really enjoyed, and this might be a controversial topic,” said Sanchez with a smile, “the weather.” She also said she liked the state because of the Christian communities “that are really close knit” and “that represent somewhat of a spectrum of different backgrounds. Also, planning to pursue a career in nursing, she liked “that Michigan is really well known for its health services.”

Many Reasons to Head North

So, after moving south to Miami, Florida to finish out high school, Sanchez had her mind set on returning north to Michigan for college.

“I really liked how Calvin had a liberal arts curriculum, a Christian perspective, a great nursing program, and would allow me to continue running cross country and track,” said Sanchez. “Everything I could ever ask for Calvin offered.”

And as a first-generation student, it also had an on-ramp that would make her transition to college much smoother.

Setup to Succeed

“Just getting to know what college life would be like was something that intrigued me, and made me want to come to Calvin,” said Sanchez.


This past summer, Sanchez joined the Entrada Scholars Program, a pre-college program where racial ethnic minority high school students have the opportunity to experience college living and learning. During the month-long program, scholars live in the residence halls while completing a three or four-credit course.

Through the program, Sanchez learned time management, received academic coaching, and had mentors who could help her adjust to college life.

“I do feel a little more equipped. I think Entrada gave me the resources and an idea of what college will look like,” said Sanchez, who is in the second semester of her first year at Calvin. “There are still a few times where I find myself struggling through normal college life, but I know there are people who can still help me through that process.”

Some of those people are her peers who she built community with during Entrada.

“I was able to build strong relationships with my peers throughout the program. They are friends I can rely on and share experiences with throughout my college career,” said Sanchez. “I think forming those connections entering college is helpful. In general, building relationships can help you stay on track in college and also have a more fun experience.”

Pursuing Her Passion

Now, with a community supporting her, Sanchez is pursuing her dream of becoming a pediatric nurse—a passion that is personal.

“When I was younger, I was in the hospital as I struggled with an eating disorder. Seeing how my nurses were attentive and super supportive through my recovery inspired me,” said Sanchez.

“I felt that experience somewhat connected me to the profession and now when I see someone struggling, I want to be there and help them.”

“Hospitals have a lot going on and there are times when I, as a nurse, will be faced with difficult situations and having my faith impact all that I do and what keeps me motivated is really important to me,” said Sanchez. “I think it’s really nice that I can deepen my faith in college and be prepared to be an agent of renewal. I see having a Christian faith perspective incorporated into our classes as something that will be helpful to me not only throughout my career but also through life.”

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