Student Spotlight: Finding My Inner Maharlika

Finding My Inner Maharlika: A Filipina’s Journey from Displacement to Sense of Self

By Edylwise Romero, SRA Student and Carleton College Senior

My name is Edylwise Romero. I’m a senior at Carleton College majoring in Psychology and minoring in Cross-Cultural Studies. I engage with my community through my role as a Resident Assistant, Queer/Questioning Trans People of Color (QTPOC) Board member, and Multicultural Alumni Network (MCAN) Class of 2019 representative. Outside of Carleton, I am the eldest of three younger brothers, a single mom, and a loving and hard-working grandmother. I am the first of my family to attend a four-year institution in the United States.

Fulfilling Dreams

As I enter my last year at Carleton College I can’t help but realize how close I was to not being in this position. Since I have come to the United States, I have had to overcome domestic violence and been displaced from my home multiple times while ensuring that my academics did not suffer. Students Rising Above was my knight in shining armor. I still remember the day of my interview – I almost didn’t go because my family was being evicted, however, I knew I needed to see it through.

SRA has since been a community who is beside me as I walk towards my dreams. When my dreams feel far away, SRA provides the guidance I need and when challenges are thrown at me they provide the resources to overcome them. Thanks to SRA I have had many opportunities over my summer breaks to develop and strengthen my leadership, organizational, and communication skills. Through webinars, interview preparation, and career fairs, SRA has given me access to resources and information such as career mentors, textbooks and how to navigate through FAFSA, among other application processes.

Career Development: Building Transferable Skills

Another key piece of SRA is the robust internship program that has enabled me to explore several opportunities in varying industries and without SRA, these experiences may not have been possible. My internship with Kaiser Permanente was driven by my interest in health. At Kaiser, I shadowed health employees while assisting in administrative aspects, such as creating and implementing new employee binders and more.

For Port of Oakland, I wanted to explore Human Resources and assisted in the screening and hiring process, as well as conducted a Workers Comp Analysis. My Ritz-Carlton internship allowed me to try something completely different. I shadowed engineers and helped with electrical and plumbing installation of a live composting bin.

For my final college internship, I found myself in a commercial real estate internship with Transwestern. In this case, my interest stemmed from the challenges I experienced with housing insecurity. My interest in acquisition and management of properties such as houses, buildings, and lands came from this experience; I thought this internship opportunity would be a great way for me to begin exploring my path to real estate and here we are today.