Karen Barajas Powell ’06

Tuesday, Mar 28, 2017
by jfaires

Meet FSI Alum Karen Barajas Powell ’06!

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Karen Powell ‘06 moved to Palm Springs, California, when she was 8 years old. Upon hearing from her mentor that Princeton had offered no-loan admission, Karen decided to apply to Princeton early action. She first stepped onto campus after received her admission and loan-free education with Gates Millennium!

A resident of Mathey College, Karen majored in the Woodrow Wilson School and completed certificates in Latin American Studies along with Spanish Language and Culture. Helping her accomplish her goals were her closest friends whom she made during FSI. While on campus, she was part of the Chicano Caucus where she grew her support network with others of similar backgrounds. She also volunteered to teach at Emily Fisher Prep Charter School on Saturday mornings so she could give back to the community.

Princeton’s resources for exploring outside of the classroom provided Karen with some of her most enjoyable experiences. During her first year, she interned at an NGO called “Ayuda en Accion” in Madrid, Spain. There, she stepped out of her comfort zone and grew as a person while living in another country. The summer after, she worked on a research project at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) and, the following year, at the National Immigration Law Center. Aside from fantastic work prospects, she also took full advantage of Princeton’s $20 Broadway tickets!

At Princeton, Karen learned that she could achieve anything with perseverance and determination, however daunting the challenge may have seemed. She also learned the importance of establishing and nurturing relationships with peers, professors, residential college staff, etc. Thanks to these relationships, she had plenty of people willing to help her in the future.

Karen advises students to find groups they can draw support and comfort from, that include students from similar backgrounds: this is what the Chicano Caucus did for her. However, she cautions, don’t just stay in that network – branch out and get to know others from various backgrounds! Make new friends and step out of your comfort zone!

At a Glance: Karen Barajas Powell ‘06

Major: Woodrow Wilson

Certificate(s): Latin American Studies, Spanish Language and Culture

Residential College: Mathey

Favorite Extra-Curricular Activity: Chicano Caucus

Favorite Experiences at Princeton: Interning in Madrid and National Immigration Law Center

If you could be any building on campus, which would you choose to be and why: Mathey, because I hold it near and dear to my heart since it was there that I established my Princeton family.

You can contact Karen by email at: kbarajas@alumni.princeton.edu.