Claudia Pineda ՚08: Feverishly build your community

Claudia Pineda ’08 works as a social worker in Renton, Washington. She also is an executive analyst for King County for three years now, developing and implementing local government policy on an initiative called Zero Youth Detention, which has a goal of reducing and eliminating youth being held in detention. 

Claudia Pineda ’08
Claudia Pineda ’08

Pineda came to Cornell as a transfer student from a junior college determined to complete her bachelor’s degree at all costs. 

“I was looking for a close-knit setting and a socially liberal space that could embrace my queerness and Mexicanness,” she says. 

When asked what would bring her back to the Hilltop, she says she’d like to reconnect with old friends. 

Her hopes for Cornell now are the same as they were when she was a student on the Hilltop herself. 

“That it [Cornell] fully lives into the commitments outlined in its mission and values. Especially so that the burden of moving toward this isn’t inequitably on the shoulders of the staff, faculty, and students from groups who have been historically exploited. It can be extra challenging to learn radical ideologies in the classroom while living in a space that is disconnected from those ideas.” 

Pineda’s advice for marginalized students is to find people on campus with shared experiences, identify accomplices, and feverishly build community with them.