2015 Newman Civic Fellow: Rachel DiPietro, Trinity College
As a leader, Rachael DiPietro believes in blending praise with constructive criticism in order to bring about positive, student-centered cultural change. An Educational Studies major with extensive coursework in Public Policy and Law, she has been an advocate for youth activism and political engagement both at Norwalk Community College and at Trinity College. Committed to addressing the achievement gap in American education, Rachael eloquently articulates an informed perspective that not only represents student interests, but also contributes to the improvement of her community. In her intellectual rigor, service activities and leadership roles, Rachael embodies the ideal of student success as a central value of higher education. Her recent position as an AmeriCorps VISTA in the community college system demonstrates her commitment to working for educational opportunity, access and equity for all Americans.
-Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President
As a non-traditional community college student I found my voice through on-campus student leadership and political organizing on undocumented youth issues, which I researched at Trinity College and intend to pursue further through a graduate program. The community college system is amazing in that it often gives second chances for people, like me, to make a future for themselves despite past challenges. As a result of my experience there I feel a duty and passion to return to the public higher education system as an administrator to serve others and redefine community college success. When swearing in the 2014 class of AmeriCorps VISTAs President Barack Obama said “the idea of making a difference in other people’s lives made a difference in mine. It made me whole. It gave me center. It gave me a compass.” I have similarly become whole and centered, through serving as a VISTA at my alma mater community college, writing grants for Connecticut Students for a DREAM, an organization that fights for undocumented youth rights and leadership roles at Trinity College. Engagement and the chance to empower others have been my saving graces, so today I work hard to make this possible for others.