Amanda Fernandez can easily be portrayed as your average 22-year-old college student, binge watching the Netflix series "Pretty Little Liars" on her free time. With a dual major in communication studies public relations and mass media concentrations, as well as a dual minor in marketing and recording arts at Cal State San Bernardino, Fernandez has limited free time.
However, she still finds time to juggle the responsibilities of being president of the student DJ club, working at events on and off campus, and recently accepted a promotion to student operations manager at CSUSB's Coyote Radio, where she works part-time.
In October, the Rancho Cucamonga resident won the "best student media representative" award presented by the Inland Empire Media Awards. Her dedication and endurance at Coyote Radio extends beyond the walls of the John M. Pfau Library basement studios. She hopes to leave her mark in the media world and at CSUSB by working hard and inspiring others.
At the age of 11, she was diagnosed with lupus ÔÇô an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues ÔÇô and had no choice but to adjust to a lifestyle change.
"I was super active when I was little, basketball was my life," said Fernandez. "Just hearing that I was like, 'whoa, what's going to happen now?' They started me on chemotherapy and medication right away, and it was just a big shock to me. I couldn't play sports anymore because I was so tired and weak. I just remember hating life."
Having to grow up quickly wasn't the easy. Dealing with treatments at a young age was difficult, yet Fernandez distanced herself from the support of her friends.
"My friends always questioned why I was gone so much. Being that little, I didn't want to say anything because I was embarrassed. Maybe I wouldn't have been made fun of, but I don't know, I just kept a low profile," she said.
Until recently, having lupus was always something she had kept to herself. During her last major flare-up, she disclosed her medical condition to her boss, Coyote Radio manager Lacey Kendall. Since opening up, she hopes to inspire others through her story.
"I kind of realized having lupus and going through everything, I can be an inspiration to other people," said Fernandez. "Media is so powerful, being in media and being that light and voice that someone else needs, I have the courage for that. I hope to inspire not just those that have lupus, but others going through a struggle."
Currently, Fernandez is set to complete her studies in winter quarter. She hopes to stay involved in media through any aspect after commencement next June. Applying for internships and dealing with midterms can be stressful, but she is ready to start a new chapter in her life. "Wherever I'm at five or 10 years from now, I just want it to be somewhere meaningful."