Story by KAKE Reporter Stephanie Maniche

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - 165 citizenship candidates filled Wichita State's Lowe's Auditorium for a naturalization ceremony.

One woman representing Ecuador has a jump start on what it feels like to be an American.

Elizabeth Cardena says this day has finally come and she couldn't be happier.

Cardena has been in the United States for three years and in the Air Force for 10 months working as a contracting specialist.

"I wanted to join because I feel that respect for this country," Cardena said. I feel thankful for this country, for my country now because I'm an American."

Cardena's family couldn't be there to share her moment, but she had her entire military unit, who she calls her family, there for support.