"Living in such an internationally diverse environment has expanded my sense of community."

photo of isel otero-veraphoto of isel otero-vera“I feel more a part of a global community now. However, because diversity is celebrated at Bryn Mawr, I am able to value and stay attached to my cultural roots even as I expand my idea of community belonging. In courses like Poverty in America, the History of Urbanization in Africa, Politics of International Law & Institutions, and African and Caribbean Perspectives of World Politics, I have really enjoyed being able to share and place in historical and political context the background knowledge of  friends who came from the regions we were studying.

“Bryn Mawr has also provided strong networking opportunities, helping me take these academic interests and passions to a future practical career.  Guest speakers’ stories, conversations with alumnae, and externships are extremely helpful. Thanks to these opportunities, I have started to see practical ways in which I can turn my passion to effect change in my community into a productive and rewarding career. Bryn Mawr has offered resources for me to explore several social-service projects. Working as a Community Diversity Assistant, contributing to International Justice Week, and participating in Project Educate in Africa (funded by the SGA) have helped me see how abstract academic ideas can motivate tangible projects. The Leadership Empowerment and Advancement Program was especially important, helping me find positive ways to approach conflict and differences within a team.

“Bryn Mawr is giving me the necessary networks, patterns of thinking, and skills I need to embark on future bold career projects. I am glad I found the community that wants to see me succeed and will go to great lengths to provide the support to make that happen.”

Isel Kanelly Otero-Vera ’12
Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Major(s): Political Science

Note: Isel Kanelly Otero-Vera ’12 has put her passion for social change to work at Bryn Mawr both on and off campus. At Bryn Mawr, she has served as a Community Diversity Assistant for the College's Office of Intercultural Affairs, guided tours for the Admissions Office, participated in Mujeres, an affinity group for Latina women at Bryn Mawr, as well as Project Educate in Africa and the Leadership Empowerment and Advancement Program. Off campus, she has volunteered as a bilingual aide at a transitional residence for victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. She has served a summer internship with a judge and externships at the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Silver Spring, Md., and the People's Emergency Center in Philadelphia. She loves to read fiction, dance (she has been a member of the Tri-College Latin dance troupe Pulso Latino), and travel. Her international friendships have inspired her to study Hindi, and she hopes to backpack across India after graduation.