Finishing Strong: 2014 Graduate Andy Cabistan

Armstrong has become a home away from home for Andy Cabistan, which means a lot considering his home is more than 3,000 miles away in Heredia, Costa Rica.

“My goal was to come to America and go to college so that I could become a professional,” says Andy.

On Saturday, Dec. 13, that goal will come to fruition when Andy walks across the stage at the Fall Commencement ceremony to receive his B.S. in Business Economics.

Andy was born in Athens, but his family moved back to their native Costa Rica when he was just one-year-old. His path to professionalism began in 2008 when he left his home in Costa Rica and moved in with a host family in Canton, Ga. He attended Sequoyah and Cherokee High Schools in preparation for college. In 2010, his entire life changed when he became a freshman at Armstrong.

“At Armstrong, I went from thinking I was a nobody to knowing that I was a somebody,” he explains. “It all started when I became a Navigate leader my freshman year.”

At first, he thought people were drawn to him because of his “funny accent.” His idea of leadership was so green, he didn’t realize he was, in fact, a natural born leader. His leadership skills bloomed over the next four years as he took on roles as the president of the Student Government Association, secretary of the Organizational Presidents’ Council, treasurer of the Association for Computing and Machinery, president of the Armstrong chapter of Amnesty International, and member of The National Leadership Honor Society.

“I just fell in love with the whole meaning of leadership,” he explains, “and I leapt at any and every opportunity to grow.”

After graduation, Andy will pursue his M.A. in Professional Communication and Leadership here at Armstrong. Additionally, he will immediately put his bachelor’s degree to use by starting his own business.

“It’s in the developing stages now, but it will be an online and mobile marketplace to provide job opportunities for college and high school students,” he says.

In the long run, Andy would like to pursue a career in international development and help grow communities around the world while helping small businesses grow in their own communities.

“In America, many people have extended their hands to me, and I want to do that for others as well,” he explains. “At Armstrong, everyone has gone above and beyond to help me accomplish my dreams. And now, I want to pay it forward.”