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Paloma Perez

Paloma Perez

Hometown: Dripping Springs, TX
High School: Dripping Springs High School
Intended major: Honors Special Major Political Science/Educational Studies
Possible career: Immigration Lawyer, School District Superintendent

Motivated by a firsthand account of her parents' struggles as immigrants from Mexico and Peru with little education, Paloma became the first person in her entire family to attend college. Paloma decided to come to Swarthmore partly because she valued the close relationships she had with teachers at her small high school and wanted to replicate that experience at college, but also for the rigorous intellectual environment Swarthmore offers. In addition to being an outstanding student and holding down two jobs in high school, she was involved in numerous activities. She was editor-in-chief of the school yearbook, a freshman mentor, Vice President of the Spanish Honor Society, a returning counselor for several local leadership conferences, member of the community service based Lions Club, and a delegate to Girls State.

At Swarthmore, Paloma has continued her commitment to racial justice with an emphasis on increasing minority access to quality education. Influenced by her experiences with organizations such as Dare 2 Soar, serving as an SAT tutor for the College Access Center of Delaware County and as a member of Chester Youth Court Volunteers, Paloma spent over two months volunteering with the Village Education Project during the summer after her freshman year. Working in rural Ecuador, she taught math and basic computer literacy as part of a summer institute for indigenous children that provided scholarships for continuing secondary education in the surrounding villages of Otavalo.

Currently she serves as co-president of Chester Youth Court Volunteers, working with youth to lessen the effects of the school-to-prison pipeline, and also advocates for racial and juvenile justice for increased funding and expansion of Pennsylvania's youth courts. She also works with the Delaware County Literacy Council as a volunteer coordinator for their digital storytelling program, which empowers adult learners to share their experiences about learning English or earning their G.E.D. She also serves on the Student Advisory Committee for Admissions and Financial Aid and is in the process of rehearsing for the spring performance of The Vagina Monologues.

Paloma is passionate about issues of social justice, education and immigration and intends to become an immigration lawyer or work as part of the U.S. Department of Education.