Growing up in four different countries taught Alejandra Traslosheros Reyes ’18 that you can never learn enough.
“It’s been a huge privilege to be a part of such different communities,” says Traslosheros, whose father was a diplomat serving in France, Mexico and Brazil. “It was a cool opportunity to be a participant and observer at the same time.” At 16, she moved to the United States to attend high school at United World College-USA, an international boarding school in New Mexico with a mission to use education for peace.
At Earlham, Traslosheros found her ideal double major, Peace and Global Studies and Public Policy.
“I was one of those people who jumped from major to major,” she admits. “I was interested in environmental and climate-related problems, but what I found out about myself was that I was not interested so much in knowing the science behind environmental problems. I was more interested in the governance and civil society aspects of the problems.”
PAGS and Public Policy try to approach and solve these kinds of problems to make the world a better place, she says.
“It’s an entirely different approach to the same set of issues. As I was studying at Earlham, I found myself drawn to studying social problems, problems that centered on the human experience. These are the problems that keep me up doing homework until three in the morning.”
“Earlham is very social justice driven,” she explains. “A lot of students want to make a difference and want to change the world for the better. Earlham does a lot of academic and extra-curricular stuff to promote that in students.”
Two recent projects in particular have helped clarify and strengthen her interests.
As a second-year student, Traslosheros participated in the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference presenting a social entrepreneurship venture, SustRAINable, a filtration and rain harvesting system for people to install in their own homes when urban infrastructure fails them.
“It was a great opportunity to present and network on different issues and approaches to solving pressing issues,” she says.
The second project she has worked on is the #i4inclusion social media campaign that was created at Earlham. The campaign uses media literacy to combat violent extremism in the United States. Traslosheros is agency coordinator for the 12-member core group that will submit a proposal in October for funding in a competition sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Facebook.
“I facilitate communication and help the group to stay on track,” she says. “#i4inclusion is a good snapshot of the kind of thing I would like to do after graduation. I think it’s important to give a voice to people who might not otherwise be heard and to help people participate in the society that they live in. And in most cases that requires fostering and opening up spaces rather than speaking for other people.”
The #i4inclusion initiative is a product of Earlham's Center for Social Justice, an academic center launched in Fall 2016 as part of EPIC (Earlham Program for an Integrated Curriculum). EPIC is a college-wide effort for foster partnerships between academic disciplines and equip students to communicate, create, adapt to change and flourish as members of a team. The plan draws on the college's traditional strengths in the liberal arts and it forward-looking focus on making a positive difference in the world.
Traslosheros also works as an office assistant for the Science Division and at Lilly Library in Interlibrary Loan. She is active in the Latino Student Society and Model UN. She enjoys reading for pleasure, loves talking with her mom, and makes time for exercise.
“I sacrifice my leisure time and I don’t sleep very much,” she says. “Weekdays I’m up until 2 or 3, but on Friday and Saturday I might be asleep by 9 or 10 just because the week is so busy.”