Jaritza Nuñez, a Junior at Colgate University, is a scholar and peer mentor, as well as a community organizer and leader. She is part of a group called We Are Enough, which seeks to understand and address educational inequities low income college students face. In her home community, she works with SaSH Network for a Healthy California, partnered with Let's Give to collect donations and give to people in need, and volunteered with the Boys & Girls Club Center children’s lunch program. Jaritza is widely known and respected by her peers and faculty as a woman of integrity and vision. She understands that even within a society structured through systemic oppression, there is always agency for growth. She sees her future as one that unites her studies of Sociology and of Education as a means of making systemic change. She wants to create greater access to higher education -- as a means of grass roots community building and development,which centers the voices of those who most need and want change. Jaritza loves to build connections with people:she tries to learn everything she can and is open to others, especially to their questions and their visions for the world.
I come from a small agricultural community in the heart of California’s central valley. Although we were told we were only meant to grow crops under the sun, we could do so much more and contribute to our community. When I arrived at college and noticed that so many students had access to everything from exceptional college prep programs to vacation homes, I questioned our nation's broader educational and social disparities. Through my research in Sociology and Educational Studies, I started to unpack the social systems that placed me on a “different educational level” and committed myself to eliminating the barriers that marginalized communities face when pursuing higher education. Through my leadership within different student groups on campus and as a Social Justice Peer Educator, I advocate for structural changes and work to transform policies that disadvantage and oppress marginalized communities, while also engaging fully with communities and assisting students in their educational endeavors. For example, faculty invited me to co-teach a summer prep course for incoming first-years that offered access to habits of mind, methodologies, and disciplinary skills critical to undergraduate research. For me, planting such seeds allows my community to realize we were made to grow from within.