Student Spotlight: Andrea Carranza
By Tony Scott


Andrea Carranza plans to graduate in 2026

Scholarships have helped first-generation college student Andrea Carranza continue her education.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Carranza is on the path to graduating with majors in math education and Spanish in the spring of 2026.

Carranza grew up in Wauconda, Illinois, with hardworking parents raising her and her 11-year-old sister. As a child of Mexican immigrants who did not attend college, Carranza is a first-generation college student. 

“I chose NIU because it was the most affordable choice for me and my family,” she said. “It’s also close to home which allows me to visit my family.”

Carranza earned the Tatsuji and Mami Kambayashi Memorial Scholarship in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, as well as an Honors Excellence Award and a CHANCE Tuition Program scholarship. 

“Receiving scholarships has helped me pursue my educational career,” she said. “When I was told I was getting the scholarship I was very excited because it would relieve some of the financial burdens of college.”

Carranza has been very busy at school, taking on extra credit loads, so she doesn’t have time for extracurriculars. She also recently took a job as a tutor with the Illinois Tutoring Initiative. She is a member of the University Honors Program and the CHANCE Program. 

“During the spring 2023, I took 19 credits; in the fall of 2023, I took 22 credits, and I am currently taking 19 credit hours,” she said. “The Honors Program has helped me meet like-minded students while the CHANCE Program has helped guide me through college.”

She has found her professors to be inspirational and encouraging. 

“My favorite thing about NIU is the professors,” she said. “Every professor that I’ve had has been inspirational. Especially as a student going into education, I feel like I can learn something valuable from every one of them.”

Carranza has been enjoying exploring campus as well.

“My favorite place to hang out is the Huskie Den in the Holmes Student Center,” she said. “Although I am not very good at playing pool, I enjoy going down there and playing a few games. My favorite place to study would be the fountains behind Davis Hall. During the warmer months it’s very calming to sit down and enjoy nature while doing homework.”

Carranza encourages alumni and friends of NIU to support scholarships that help students like her realize their dreams of a college education.

“To those who are thinking about donating to support student scholarships, I would say do it because there are so many students who can benefit from even the smallest donation,” she said.