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Embracing her heritage

Carolina Reyes, A14, applied to Tufts with laser-like certainty to study her culture in-depth

When Carolina Reyes, A14, applied to Tufts, she did so with laser-like certainty—even with what could be called joy.

It’s hard to believe that the often nerve-wracking application process could be fun, but for Carolina, “it was really cool. The questions that they asked made me want to answer all of them. They were so out of the box!”

To her, Tufts matched everything she was looking for: the students were “very focused, very driven” and the faculty, both approachable and among the best in their field. Alongside that was the chance to study international relations—one of Tufts’ most popular programs—and this exerted a powerful pull on not only her wide-ranging curiosity, but also her hopes and dreams for a fulfilling career working on global issues, particularly fair trade.

“International relations is close to my heart,” says Carolina. “It embraces my heritage and culture, and gives me purpose.”

Carolina grew up in Wilmington, Del., the daughter of emigrants from Colombia. In high school, she spearheaded a Model UN and competed on the Mock Trial team.

“I realized international relations was not only what I wanted to study, but what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” she says.

Carolina brings that high energy to bear on all her Tufts studies and activities. Fluent in Spanish, she is learning Portuguese. She juggles coursework with serving on the executive board for the sorority Chi Omega and handling a work study job at the Tower Café. She has been active in the Tufts Dance Collective and has traveled to the Andes for a summer internship with Threads of Peru, a nonprofit that helps Quechua women market their woven goods.

Looking ahead, she expects to travel more, and perhaps pursue graduate studies at the Fletcher School. For now, though, she is making the most of her undergraduate experience, one she says she does not take for granted.

Her father is a physician and her mother manages the office at his medical practice. With a younger sister in high school and looking ahead to college, financial aid is a significant support for her family.

The Gregory G. and Christine D. Randolph Scholarship is a generous gesture she says she will always appreciate.

She opens a file on her laptop and reads aloud her response to an application question: Tell us, briefly, what is Tufts?

Tufts, she wrote, is home to “Jumbo maximus, a rare species of students and professors,” people, she says, who thrive in an environment “where diversity and open-mindedness are treasured.”

Those words ring even more true today, she says. “I am grateful for the kind donations of alumni and friends of the university, such as the Randolphs, for giving me the opportunity to study at Tufts. It’s a place where I have been able to explore my interests and push my limits, and that has become my home.”