Trinity College student Karolina Barrientos ’22 recently was named a 2021–22 Newman Civic Fellow, an honor awarded this year to only 212 students from 39 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a one-year fellowship experience for community-committed students from Campus Compact member institutions that support students’ personal, professional, and civic development. The fellows are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally, and internationally.
Barrientos, a sociology and educational studies major, said she has a passion for researching and studying educational injustices. The Houston native attended the Houston Independent School District and had attended only public institutions until she began studying at Trinity.
“My schools were mostly composed of marginalized students and lacked the resources many of my current peers had in their [pre-Trinity] experience,” said Barrientos. “When I enrolled in education and sociology courses, I learned the systemic causes of those injustices. Fortunately, I was lucky to have mentors in my schooling experience that led me to opportunities like attending Trinity College.”
Barrientos said it is important to pay her experience forward and help other students who are from backgrounds similar to hers. She has mentored elementary students in ConnectiKids, a nonprofit youth development organization that focuses on educating, enriching, and empowering Hartford’s youth; participated in Trinity’s Community Action Gateway program to develop and implement a social change project in Hartford; and served as an EMERGE fellow in the program designed to empower and prepare high-performing students from underserved communities to attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities.
Barrientos is the fifth Trinity student to receive this honor. Those who preceded her are Tiana Starks ’21, Matthew Rivera ’20, Marlén Miranda ’20, and Rachael DiPietro ’15.