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2003 Romero Finalists

biographical sketches


Juan DeJesus is a junior in the Carroll School of Management (CSOM), with a concentration in Finance. Growing up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, he is the first person in his family to attend a four-year college and he retains very close ties to his family and to his community. Experiencing the effects on his friends and family of poverty and violence in his community, he has worked to bring about change: he has served on the board of directors of the Bird Street Community Center and of the Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation. At Boston College he established the BC to Bird Street Mentoring Program. He is also active in OLAA and helped to re-establish the AHANA Management Academy. Currently, Juan is studying at Morehouse College, the first CSOM student to study at a Historically Black College. Future goals include work in investment banking or sports management.


Ellen Rains is committed to the mission of the Boston College Connell School of Nursing (CSON) as it seeks to instill “values of service to others. . .and justice through promoting equal access to care for all people.” By choosing a career in nursing, she will carry out those goals. She will also carry on the traditions of her Mexican grandparents: Ellen recognizes that she has had access to higher education because of their faith and their commitment to education, an advantage they were not able to have. She has been active at Boston College in the Read Boston program and with the Heights Boys and Girls Club. She has also traveled on an immersion trip to Costa Rica and with the CSON El Salvadoran Immersion Trip. After graduation, she plans to join the Jesuit Volunteer Corps; her goal is to work in public health nursing with a focus on women’s health.

Raymond Ramirez, a history and English major in the College of Arts and Sciences, is currently studying in Madrid, Spain, where he is pursuing archival research for his senior thesis. A native of the South Bronx, he has returned to his community in the summers to work with non-profit organizations seeking to improve the lives of city residents, most recently with Urban Health Plan, where he hopes to organize a youth advisory board. Raymond credits his mother with insisting that he stay in school; he believes that “education is key to overcoming injustice” and wants to learn how to give outlets and voice to community members. Raymond plans to attend law school and then become involved in New York City politics with the goal of helping to “bring about structural change.” At Boston College, while working several nights a week, he has been involved with 4Boston. In the fall he will intern with a Boston City Councilor.


Edgar Valdez will complete an accelerated three-year program in the College of Arts and Sciences with majors in mathematics and philosophy. After graduation, he plans to go directly to graduate school with the goal of becoming a professor: recognizing the truth of Romero’s observation that knowing we cannot do everything liberates us “to do something, and do it very well,” Edgar knows that he “must teach,” In so doing he can hope to inspire others to fight for justice. At Boston College, he has participated in the Shaw Leadership Program, worked with OLAA, and has twice been chosen as an Orientation Leader. He has also been one of the producers of “Now You Know,” a UGBC-sponsored cable television show. Edgar belongs to a Christian Life Community on campus and has served on the executive board of Another Choice on Campus, which provides opportunities for socializing without alcohol.


Stephanie Valencia went to El Salvador on an immersion trip in March 2002, and saw there the Salvadorans’ great faith and hope in Archbishop Romero. Her “soul had been touched.” She returned, spending the fall 2002 semester at Casa de la Solidaridad where “Archbishop Romero’s vision and life came alive” for her as she worked in marginal communities and studied at the University of Central America. In the current semester she is studying at the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City. A major in International Studies, at Boston College Stephanie has been a member of the Emerging Leaders and Shaw Leadership Programs and the UGBC Senate; she has also been actively involved with the Romero Committee and OLAA. She hopes to work in a governmental or non-governmental agency to “create positive policies that benefit the oppressed and change the structures that keep them that way.”

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