Kara D’Ascenzo, a third year student at Haverford College, is an advocate for social change, civic engagement, and humanitarian issues, Kara’s work has – and continues to – make a lasting impression on the Haverford community. She has invested her energies in multiple meaningful projects and played significant leadership roles among students. She has worked alongside staff, faculty, and administrators in efforts to foster an ethically engaged, diverse, equitable and inclusive community at Haverford College. Kara’s primary focus while at Haverford has been to foster social change on both local and global scales. Locally, she spearheaded a significant effort to mobilize voting efforts across campus during the 2020 election cycle. She also worked on Migration Encounters, a project seeking to combat misinformation and xenophobia about migrants to the US from Mexico by transcribing and publicizing their personal stories. Her involvement in these efforts have instilled strong leadership values and a sense of purpose in advocacy-based work beyond her academic career at Haverford.
In 2016, I visited Nogales, México to learn about the social justice and humanitarian issues affected by U.S. immigration policy. The bulk of this trip was spent listening to migrants’ stories, an experience that I was incredibly privileged to have. While this trip motivated me to pursue a degree in political science and a career in public service, it also taught me the power that stories hold. This experience shaped my academic and professional career and instilled within me a commitment to pursuing immigration reform. Five years later, this commitment continues via my work with Migration Encounters, a collaborative oral-history project that provides a platform for migrants to share their stories. This project revolves around stories' power to challenge misconceptions and I am hopeful those who listen will experience the same motivation to pursue change as I did. While pursuing progressive policy is paramount to achieving social change, pursuing a shift in climate ensures said change lasts. This process is inherently dynamic and something I am committed to continue striving for. I have witnessed the results that sharing stories can bring and I hope to foster further change by continuing this work from policy and community perspectives in the future.