Brisa Luzzi Castro, a second-year student at Penn State Brandywine, has consistently demonstrated a commitment to her community and a desire to be an effective agent of social change. Her remarkable campus and community involvement reflect her dedication to the values of equity, inclusion, and compassion and advocacy for historically underrepresented groups and communities of color. Among her many accomplishments, Brisa is the recipient of the 2021 Penn State Brandywine Student Leadership Award, conducts research with the campus’s Student Trauma and Antiracism Research in Schools (STARS) Lab Team, organized and gave a talk at the campus’s first-ever TedX event, and represented the campus at the 2021 AACU Truth and Racial Healing Transformation Institute. Brisa’s service to the campus community includes working as a Program Intern at the Center for Ethics and Civic Engagement and as an International Student Mentor for the Multilingual and International Office; serving as the Co-President of the Civic and Community Engagement Club, as a Lion Guide Peer Mentor, and as an Orientation Leader; and being a member of the Chancellor’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Justice and the Chancellor’s Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
Early in my life I learned about the importance and need for justice and equality. Where everyone deserves a seat at the table and a microphone to speak their truth. It was when I started to build relationships with my community that I realized just how powerful we are as individuals to transform the world in which we live. Listening, speaking, bonding, and taking action. In my community, I actively volunteer and build partnerships with groups who constantly show me what it means to be passionate and resilient, whether it be about environmental or animal justice. At my university, I intern at a center for engagement where I lead volunteer opportunities and educational programming all tied to social justice, ethics, and civic rights. Through this I’ve been shown how youth involvement and active, interactive learning experiences are essential to being a catalyst for change.