cartagenaA life lived in service, Sophia Cartagena got her Lasallian start at Lewis University, Romeoville, Illinois. The Chicago native was actively involved with the Latin American Student Organization and with the University Ministry program through Koinonia and various service retreats, while at Lewis, including service trips to Bolivia, Mississippi, and Mexico. Cartagena was recognized in 2007 with the esteemed De La Salle Medallion for Exemplary Volunteer Service, and went on to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal/Social Justice later that same year. Cartagena was heavily influenced by her first mission trip to Bolivia in 2005. She credits that trip with reintroducing her to her faith, which in turn became a very significant part of who she is.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Cartagena followed-up on her passion for service, which was ignited by her initial mission trip, by completing two years of exemplary service in the Lasallian Volunteers Program, stationed with Tides Family Services in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Cartagena continues to be active with the Lasallian Volunteers program, serving as a mentor and co-chair of the Young Lasallians Committee at Tides Family Services, which she has been an employee of for the last 5 years. She is also involved with the Lasallian Association of Youth and Family Services (LAYFS) for the District of Eastern North America as the Tides Family Services representative, and as a member of the Rhode Island Lasallian Association Group (RILAG).

In late September, Cartagena was presented with the Young Alumni Award from Lewis University along with 7 other alumni for achievement in their fields, and for their dedication to those in need.