Making Dreams a Reality
“My mom always made school a priority. When she came to visit Penn State for Parents’ Weekend, she said ‘this is the American Dream.'”
Joanna Carrasco’s parents moved to New York from the Dominican Republic before she was born. Coming from a large, mostly Spanish-speaking family, Carrasco is the first one among her generation of siblings and cousins to pursue college. She credits her mom—who earned her bachelor’s degree—and the schools she attended for giving her the motivation to apply to college.
As a student at Penn State, she became interested in social injustice. Carrasco developed a passion for wanting to work in the nonprofit sector, elevating issues specific to the Latino community, including access to college preparatory programs.
While a student at Penn State, Joanna was involved in the Dominican Student Association on campus and held a work study position in the Undergraduate Admissions Office with the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team (S.M.A.R.T.). She also volunteered with Ode to the Bronx, which provides workshops and after school activities for kids in that community.
Upon graduation, Carrasco began teaching in Washington, D.C. public schools as part of a fellowship program in partnership with Georgetown University. She teaches a variety of courses, including a course on environmental justice.
In the future, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree in public policy.