University: University of Pennsylvania
Major: International Relations, Political Development, Urban Studies
Languages: English (native), Spanish (native)
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Biography: I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in a primarily Puerto Rican neighborhood in the diverse City of Brotherly Love. I am the oldest of three in a single parent household, where I serve as the man of the house, a trailblazer, role model, and best friend to my younger siblings.
I am a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in International Relations and I am heavily involved in UPenn’s Hispanic community and civic engagement groups. I am a Civic Scholar, a Board Member of the Civic House Working Group (to improve community-university relations), and I tutor at a local high school. I also founded an organization that collaborates with surrounding universities to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between the their civic groups and community partners. My passion for my Hispanic heritage drives my involvement in La Casa Latina, which serves as the hub for Latino life at UPenn, and the Puerto Rican club, through which I am founding a National Puerto Rican Student Conference for 2016.
Throughout my experience at UPenn I have realized that I am not a product of my circumstances. My loving mother, who sacrificed everything to help me prosper, and my Puerto Rican culture are responsible for the strength and values which allow me to overcome all obstacles related to growing up in an underserved community in a precarious urban environment – the very obstacles that have ultimately shaped my goals and ambitions for the future.
I study International Relations and intend to become a diplomat in order to create global social policy reform to combat the severe global inequality in income, education, and healthcare access. I have traveled to Belize, Costa Rica, China, and Hong Kong and know that despite their significant differences each place struggles with the issues I grappled with in Philadelphia. As an outlier in the cycle of oppression that consumes today’s impoverished youth, I feel morally obligated to assist those in need and I will not measure my success by the amount of commas in my salary, but by the lives I can impact.