tatianna suriel '20

Current Position: 
Master's Candidate in Environmental Science and Management, University of California, Santa Barbara 
Current Location:
Santa Barbara, CA   
Anthropology-Sociology, Women's Studies 

where did you find community at hws?

I found community at HWS through service learning (Thank you, CCESL!), in particular with my work at the Geneva Boys and Girls Club and in the Geneva Public Schools. During my time at HWS, I was able to connect with so many kids and staff at the Boys and Girls Club that allowed me to learn more about Geneva and the greater community's direct needs. Whether it was running into smiling faces at Wegmans or by the Seneca Lake waterfront, my work made me feel a part of a larger community and mission beyond HWS' campus. My time at the Boys and Girls Club sparked my continued involvement in the community through an independent study my senior year with Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies May Farnsworth. I volunteered in a Bilingual (English/Spanish) classroom in the Geneva Public Schools and assessed the needs of Geneva's bilingual community. This extremely rewarding experience led to the creation of the Bilingual Education Action Team, Geneva 2030's action team dedicated to improving student success for bilingual students, and I am so happy to have been a part of the restructuring. I am forever grateful for so many of the life lessons, memories, and friendships I gained at HWS and in the greater Geneva community. I can attribute my appreciation and dedication to living a life of consequence to the incredible faculty, staff, peers, and Geneva community members I encountered along the way. I am proud to call HWS my alma matter and Geneva another home away from home.

how did hws prepare you for your current role?

I cannot begin to express how many moments I have encountered in my post-undergraduate career and life where I have been so grateful for how prepared I felt because of HWS. Whether it be during meetings, social gatherings, or approaching workplace challenges, I have found that the expectations HWS professors held me to and the level of critical thinking that was necessary to succeed has been applicable to just about everything I encounter. More importantly, HWS taught me the importance of advocating for yourself, your needs, and the needs of other people. I find myself thriving in nearly every environment I encounter because I understand what I need to succeed, I know what works best for me, and I understand the best practices of getting there. HWS showed me that you will always be your own best advocate, so you better stick up for what you believe in! Thank you, HWS, for helping to shape me, my identity, and empower me to advocate for the environment, women's rights, educational reform and all things social justice.