Valencia Alvarez ’20
For Valencia Alvarez ’20, the journey from her hometown of Yucaipa, California, to Grinnell was notable for several reasons. She was the first in her family to attend college, it was the first time she had traveled by plane, and Iowa was the farthest she’d ever been from home.
By the time Alvarez graduated, she was a Fulbright Scholar who had visited more than a half dozen countries to study immigration and global health issues through the College’s Institute for Global Engagement (IGE).
“As part of the Global Learning Program, we learned about education within migrant communities, talked to border patrol agents about security and policies, spoke to migrants about their experiences, and visited Greece and Germany at the height of the Syrian refugee crisis,” she says.
In September 2021, Alvarez traveled to Mexico to help students learn English and focus on empowering girls through soccer. Once that is completed, she will use a Stouffer Fellowship to earn her master’s in public health, then hopes to work as a public health provider helping immigrant and vulnerable communities.
“As long as you’re able to open your mind to the world, you’re able to learn a lot about yourself and the world in the process,” she says.