From the president

Sarah Downey ’24 majors in both Spanish and secondary education at Providence College. At the core of every issue in her literature classes lie Intersectionality, Interseccionalidad, which encapsulates the interconnectedness of identities and the systems of discrimination that target these identities. Her independent study on gender and sexuality disparities within Latin American literature, administered through the world languages and cultures department, has further deepened her desire to use language to create social change. In addition, Sarah seeks to ensure that the College’s academic offerings honor these overlapping identities to all students. In her role as an after-school teacher at the Boys and Girls Club of Providence, Sarah challenges her students by teaching literacy and encouraging them to explore its importance and empowerment. She embraces her part as a mentor while instilling in young students, through reading, the hope that each of them will develop a lifelong love and passion for language and learning.

Fr. Kenneth Sicard O.P., Ph.D.


Providence College

sarah downey

Personal Statement

From a young age, I struggled to understand my identity as a queer girl living between the antiquated norms of a rural town and the conservative beliefs of my Portuguese heritage. The image of femininity that I was taught to mirror made no room for queerness and, therefore, I was left to believe that honoring both my traditional heritage and my sexuality was not possible. A long history of mental health disorders and alcoholism in my family, followed by the loss of my father to suicide further challenged my self-perception. Only in the recent years, since having the opportunity to read powerful female and queer voices in literature, have I seen mirrored many of the struggles I have felt throughout my adolescence. Therefore, as an aspiring educator, I strive to create a safe, accepting, and equitable environment where I provide literary works that reflect aspects of my students’ individual identities. Language, as my adult ESL students have taught me, is a gateway to opportunities and to human connection.

Sarah Downey

Spanish & Secondary Education

Providence College