Eli J. & Phyllis N. Segal Citizen Leadership Program

Catherine Romero

2021 Brandeis Undergraduate Segal Fellow

Catherine Romero, born and raised in Houston, Texas, graduated from Brandeis University in December 2022. She was a Myra Kraft Transitional Year (MKTY) Scholar at Brandeis and got her BA in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx Studies, and Sociology. At Brandeis, she was a student worker for the Intercultural Center (ICC), a writing tutor for the MKTY Program, and a peer educator with Bridge to Wellness. Catherine found much of her home on campus through her MKTYP cohort and members of the ICC.  Her investment to equitable education begins with the resiliency and empathy that embodies the values of her Central American background. Much of her upbringing was spent watching others and herself face challenges with the public education offered to low-income students of color. The community she found at Brandeis empowered her to gain the tools to re-visit these experiences with a critical understanding of larger structures of inequality. 

Catherine spent the summers of 2021 and 2022 interning with Safe Passage Project, where she had her Segal Summer Internship in 2021. Previously, she was able to learn more of the potential and value of education, through her five-week long fellowship in New York City. This experience exposed her to greater insight on the complex issues of poverty. She was also introduced to the grant making process of nonprofits that aim to fight against the different layers of poverty. During the summer of 2020, she interned for her high school supporting students with literacy exams for the upcoming school year. She was also given the opportunity to be a part of the Race Equity and Education Lab under the support and mentorship of Brandeis Professor Derron Wallace. Through this, she assisted a team of individuals committed to voicing the concerns of low-income families of color in response to a transition to virtual learning. She is eager and motivated to continue learning from her mentors, advisors, community, and loved ones, on the steps towards imagining a world that offers complete liberation. Aside from this, she holds an extensive appreciation for mixing music, writing, and collecting stories. She understands these forms of art to defy concepts of time and colonialism by grounding us to moments, people, and history that reveal a greater purpose and responsibility attached to our existence.  Through her Segal Summer Internship, Catherine was excited to deepen her engagement and commitment to youth experiencing the unequal realities offered within immigration, public education, and housing insecurity.