City College Fellow
Laura was born in El Salvador barely four months after the historic Peace Accords were signed. Her family migrated to the United States when she was three years old. During her junior year in high school, Laura took her first psychology course and became fascinated by this field that helps her to better understand humanity and the underlying dynamics that generate human behavior. Her fascination deepened when she discovered that psychology could be used to foster social justice, not just to analyze individual psyche, deviance, or pathology. She became particularly interested in the power of social psychology to explain why human beings commit atrocities such as war and genocide.
Laura decided to return to El Salvador when she was 18 to study at the University of Central America. Although family complications forced her to return after a too-short stay, she witnessed the frustration, pessimism, and desperation that so many Salvadoran young people feel. In contrast, she also met idealistic artists, social scientists and psychologists who are working to inculcate among the country’s youth a sense of self esteem and a belief that they can contribute to creating a better world free from exploitation and oppression. Laura hopes to pursue her doctorate in psychology, not for mere intellectual satisfaction, but to gain tools to help build the just society that so many have fought for.