A Snead State Community College alumna was selected for the University of Alabama’s Blackburn Institute, an organization that focuses on student involvement in improving the campus and the state.
Angela Barajas Salcido of Boaz graduated from Snead State in 2019 and is majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Studies at the University of Alabama. She learned about the Blackburn Institute from a member of the previous class.
“I was attending a meeting for the Hispanic Latino Association, and one of the members mentioned that the nominations for the next class had begun,” she said.
To be considered for the Blackburn Institute, a nomination has to be received, and those nominated will be emailed an application with information about the selection process. After submitting the application, nominees participate in two rounds of interviews – a group interview and a solo interview.
One of the Institute’s biggest initiatives is the Daniel Community Scholars Program. The program splits each class into groups that are in charge of creating every aspect of a service project. At the end of each year, the Institute hosts a showcase to spotlight the different projects. One group is selected to receive a scholarship to fulfill a project, and the entire class will then work on the selected project together.
“I attended the Daniel Community Scholars Showcase that fall (before I was selected) and loved all of the projects,” Angela said. “Blackburn also has a lot of connections with the community within UA and the state of Alabama. They reach out to sponsors, fellows and other important members of the community to establish connections with the current classes.”
Angela is the Community Partner Specialist for her Daniel Community Scholars group. She will be reaching out to members of the Tuscaloosa community who are working in the same area of service as her group.
“I meet with them and will be the connection between the community and my group. I am excited to research and find different organizations within the Tuscaloosa community to reach out and learn from,” she said. “I am excited to be able to work on a project that’s purpose is to help build a better state.
“I hope to be able to make connections that will help me in my future endeavors. I am hopeful that I will make friends and associates from whom I can grow and learn. I hope to continue to grow and open up as a person. I want to meet all kinds of people and to be able to view different parts of my community from other perspectives.”
Born in Santiago Tangamandapio in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, Angela moved to the United States when she was four years old. Growing up in Boaz, she graduated from Susan Moore High School before attending Snead State.
“I absolutely loved my time at Snead and will forever be grateful for all of the opportunities that it has given me. When I first started at Snead, I was very timid but wanted to change that. I forced myself to expand outside of my comfort zone and joined multiple groups. Through these organizations, I was able to give speeches, meet lots of people, and throw myself into large social situations.
“I loved every second of being a part of the Snead State Ambassadors, Pan Latino, and the Presidential Scholars. Thanks to these organizations, I had full confidence to sign up for pretty much every organization I was interested in at the University of Alabama. It also helped to prepare me for the interviews and my communication skills. (At Snead,) I was introduced to how college works and the different programs that are used.”
Prior to enrolling at Snead State, Angela said she had no idea what career path she wanted to choose, but Snead helped her figure that out.
“The best decision I ever made was to attend Snead State Community College. I was able to take the most random classes from ethics to art history to psychology and loved being able to explore and be creative with my schedule. I was able to get the grades necessary to attend the University of Alabama on a full-ride scholarship. I am so thankful for my time at Snead and will always recommend attending a community college. Snead State was an experience that I will forever be grateful to have had.”
After graduating from UA, tentatively set for 2021, she plans to attend law school and study international and immigration law.
“I hope to eventually make my way into politics and hopefully continue service projects throughout the state of Alabama. The Blackburn Institute values diversity and action within the community. I hope to learn ways on becoming a more active member and to learn to begin my path into diversifying politics,” she said.
The Blackburn Institute was founded by Dr. John L. Blackburn, who placed a role in the University of Alabama’s integration. The Institute believes in change, positive progression, and facing critical issues.
“I know Blackburn will open doorways for me to have difficult conversations and allow me to expand my viewpoints in order to hopefully one day serve my community.”
Though concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic have limited some of the events hosted by the Blackburn Institute, Angela remains hopeful that her group will be able to continue their work with limited interruption this fall. She also had one piece of advice for other students beginning college this fall.
“No matter what path a student takes, my advice would also be to get involved as much as possible. It will definitely make or break a student’s time at any institution.”