PhotoCecilia Nuñez ’20 is a true University citizen. Originally from Los Angeles, Nuñez arrived in Cambridge three years ago and whole-heartedly immersed herself in both the Harvard and Greater Boston communities. In the past year, Nuñez began her term as president of the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), traveled to Mexico to conduct research for her senior thesis, threw out the first pitch at Fenway Park, and testified in the Harvard admissions case on behalf of student communities of color. Nuñez’s concentration is in history & literature with a focus in Latin American studies; her secondary is in Spanish. And, somehow, she also finds time to work as an integral member of the University Planned Giving (UPG) team. Here, Nuñez takes a break from her busy schedule to tell us some more about herself.

How did you end up throwing out the first pitch at Fenway Park?
Well, it was supposed to be President Bacow, but he couldn’t do it, so they asked me. It was Harvard night at Fenway, and the charity that they choose to support is usually PBHA. As the president of PBHA, I got to throw the pitch.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
Probably PBHA. I feel like that’s where I unofficially live. I tell people I’m either in class, at work, or at PBHA. As a first-year, I was a counselor with one of PBHA’s summer urban programs, the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment Program (BRYE), which focuses on school preparedness and English as a second language. Through BRYE I was introduced to Dorchester, and I really fell in love with the families and the whole community. I still go there to visit the BRYE kids a lot. I have also volunteered with the BRYE teen mentoring program since sophomore year.

What is your favorite thing about Harvard?
I like that Harvard brings people together who are so passionate about a number of different things and helps them think about how they can pursue those interests to create a better world.

What advice would you give an incoming first-year student?
Explore Cambridge and Boston while you’re here. Public service is a great way to do that and get involved with Boston communities and families in a way that takes you out of the college-student bubble.

Any other hobbies?
I play the banjo—very casually

What has been the best thing about working for the UPG team?
As a volunteer for places like PBHA, we talk a lot about fundraising, so it’s been really interesting and helpful to have a broader understanding of how fundraising works. Last year, I worked on recovering funds originally in Harvard’s name that were turned over to the state for various reasons after the passing of a donor. We’re still in the process of trying to get some of the funds back. That’s been a great project.

Contact University Planned Giving to learn more about supporting University programs. 

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