Daniela Figueroa, a second year scholar at Farmingdale State College (FSC), is a committed activist focused on dismantling the educational disparities deeply rooted in United States public education. As an Applied Psychology major, Daniela is dedicated to taking her academic and personal experiences in pursuit of a career in educational leadership and advocacy. Starting in her sophomore year of high school she worked closely with organizations to expand her knowledge and passion for helping others. Concentrating on educating her community about sexual health, she went door to door to community leaders and NYS senators to create policies that ended the cycle of disinformation regarding reproductive health to students of color in her hometown of Hempstead. More recently, as a member of the FSC Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) program, she’s taken initiatives to mentor and instill a sense of belonging and community to incoming first-year students through the RAM-Torship program. As a community leader, she has been an active participant in the RAMdom Acts of Service through their Adopt-A-Highway program. As an accomplished student leader, Daniela hopes to increase access to resources for marginalized communities in and out of the classroom.
Growing up, I noticed that the town next to mine had more trees. I wouldn’t understand until years later that this was only one of the many economic disparities indicators that existed between my ethnically diverse town and the adjacent one, whose population was nearly 100% white. Additional evidence of this disparity was found in our school districts. My lower income community possessed far fewer resources than the neighboring, wealthier districts. Each morning I watched my classmates' hands slowly turn from blue to pink after long, cold, winter- walks to school due to the district’s lack of bus transportation. During high school, I worked with a local organization that focused on intersectional issues and was faced with harsh realities: students of color bear the weight of systemic racism and also receive little-to-no acknowledgement for the same achievements as their non-marginalized peers. Experiences like these have eagerly inspired me to become a teacher - one who understands and acknowledges the hardships students of color face, so that I may provide them with the guidance and support they deserve. My passion for educational leadership stems from my own upbringing. I want education to shift towards understanding and adapting to new ways of success.