Paola Bernal ’17 has received a 2016 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellows award.
Originally from Houston, Paola is a sociology major, a Posse Scholar, and a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Bryn Mawr. She is Co-President of Mujeres, the Latina affinity group; one of two founding members of Dialogue on Race at Bryn Mawr, a creative educational program designed to bring about change through informed, intensive discussion; and is a student employee in the Civic Engagement Office.
Through the College's Civic Engagement Office, Paola is a student coordinator for the ACLAMO After School Program. In this role, she is responsible for recruiting, training and supervising fellow Bryn Mawr students who work with K-8 students providing homework help, academic enrichment, remediation, and language support through the only bilingual community social service agency in Montgomery County.
“I see myself and my family in the members of ACLAMO,” says Paola. “I am passionate and continue to be involved and work through these social issues, because I am a product of the issues. I have experienced these social injustices first-hand and I’ve been able to grow and acknowledge the power of raising awareness in not only educating myself, but in engaging in critical dialogue and working towards breaking down the systematic barricades of silence and oppression.”
Among those on campus who have taken note of Paola is Bryn Mawr President Kim Cassidy, who wrote the letter recommending her for the Newman Civic Fellow award.
“While her list of accomplishments is impressive, it is not what makes Paola truly stand out as a candidate for the Newman Civic Fellows Award,” wrote Cassidy “Rather, it is the joy that she brings to her work. Her face lights up when she talks about the children she tutors or when she describes the Norristown community to someone who has never been there. Her enthusiasm when talking about her summer internship with middle school students is contagious.”
The Newman Civic Fellows award is presented by Campus Compact, a nonprofit coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents—representing some 6 million students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. It honors the late Frank Newman, one of Campus Compact’s founders and a tireless advocate for the civic engagement of higher education.