Paola Garcia Cardenas


I grew up in a small town called Nicoya, located in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. My house was (and still is) in the middle of my grandparents’ farm, surrounded by cows and horses. I was so much into soccer, that my dad helped us build a soccer “field” next to our house (yes, right in the middle of the farm too). The goal posts were made out of pieces of wood from fallen trees, and sometimes we even had to stop games because the cows were blocking the goals or they were in the middle of our “field”.

Not everyone in our town owned a computer. Technology access in my town was limited. At the age of 8, my parents signed me up for a computer course that took place at the public high school, Liceo de Nicoya. I learned to program with LOGO and I remember I was always excited to go to computer class to give commands to the turtle and print my creations. I did not know back then, as much as I know now, that programming was going to be a key turning point in my life.

I finished high school in 2004 at Colegio Santa Ana, located in Liberia about 1 hour away from my hometown. In 2005, I attended Universidad de Costa Rica for a year and I also was recruited to play for Saprissa Women’s Soccer team. We won our Division II championship and qualified to compete in Division I. It was an exciting year. My regional team, Nicoya, also qualified to compete for the National Games in early 2006. That same year, I decided to travel abroad to the United States and a few days after National Games, I left Costa Rica to come to the US.

I was an Au Pair for 2 years. Lived in Portland, OR for a year and then in Maplewood, NJ for another year. I wanted to experience both, West and East coast living in the US.

After my Au Pair experience I decided to attend school here in the US. I started at SUNY Rockland Community College and graduated with an A.S in Computer Information Systems (GPA 3.83). Attending a community college opened many doors for me, which led to academic and athletic scholarship opportunities to complete my 4-year degree at St. Thomas Aquinas College with a B.S. in Computer Science (GPA 3.56). Later on I received a Merit scholarship to attend Graduate school, and thanks to that, in December of 2014 I completed my Masters in Computer Science (GPA 3.81) at Pace University.

I currently work as an Adjunct Teacher of Computer Studies at Rockland Community College, and as a web developer contractor; when not at work, you can find me at the gym or home reading a book with my dog and cats!

Thank you for stopping by. Please visit my blog and let me know what you think!