The Community Foundation of Louisville, Kentucky, has honored Sarah C. Nuñez MPA ’10 for work that celebrates cultural diversity and strengthens educational opportunities for people of color, especially Latino students at the University of Louisville. The foundation selected Nuñez as one of 16 educators, philanthropists, volunteers and other individuals who are positively affecting lives through service to their communities. Their photos, accompanied by the headline “Force for Good,” were featured during a billboard campaign alongside major city highways in the spring.
Nuñez, assistant director of the Cultural Center at the university, is known as a strong advocate for students who has implemented a network of academic and personal support for those from Latin American counties, including many who are the first in their families to attend college. This year, the university enrolled nearly 800 Latinos, a student population that has grown steadily since she came to the role three years ago. “My job is one that takes a lot of energy, but it comes right back to me when I see these students succeed each semester and graduate,” she said.
Nuñez manages student scholarship funds, plans programming and events and oversees a peer mentoring and ambassador program. She is involved in a variety of outreach projects and has worked to strengthen ties with off-campus groups and organizations concerned with the educational needs of the city’s Latino population.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Nuñez is the daughter of a Colombian father and white mother from Syracuse, New York. The family moved to the U.S. when she was 3 years old. Nuñez returned to Colombia at age 20, hoping to gain a better understanding of her family origins and culture. “It was a part of my heritage that I had never been exposed to, and I spent a year there getting to know my family’s stories and history,” she said. “I also came to understand much more about the country and human rights issues during this time. Going there turned out to be the best decision I have ever made. All of this inspired me upon my return to work with others to improve the conditions with which we live, and that inspiration has never left me.”