As a doctoral student Astrid Sambolín Morales went above and beyond to actively contribute to the formation of a better community in the CU Boulder School of Education and the Puerto Rican diaspora communities of Florida, Denver, and Pennsylvania with whom she partnered.
Make sure the work you do is something you are passionate about. You will dedicate a big chunk of your life to this. Surround yourself with people who see the value in what you do and what matters to you. You need your village, especially during the challenging times that make you want to quit."
From the moment Sambolín Morales arrived at CU Boulder, she became involved in key initiatives and service work that contributed to critical changes in the policies and practices of the School of Education. She joined the BUENO Center’s Strategic Planning Committee her first semester and the school’s Climate Committee shortly thereafter. In these roles she strongly and visibly advocated for student agency and voice across all program areas in the School of Education community, particularly those of her fellow BIPOC peers and those educated outside the mainland U.S. states. Sambolín Morales was one of the inaugural members of the Assembly Journal’s editorial review board and the planning team for the 1st year PhD Student Equity and Justice Workshop Series with Bethy Leonardi.
These lived commitments fueled Sambolín Morales’ dissertation, which addresses a timely, significant, and largely invisible social and educational problem: the experiences and resiliency of Puerto Rican mothers–who were displaced alongside their families as a result of the devastating effects of Hurricane María on the island of Puerto Rico–as they supported the academic success of their children in the mainland U.S. school system and sustained the family in the new context. A native of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Sambolín Morales’ research and public scholarship is always close to her heart and homeland. Her work with Puerto Rican mothers fuels her work. She continues to leave a mark on the field just she brought about notable contributions and change to the School of Education for future scholars — some of the many reasons she has been named the Outstanding Graduate for Community Engagement and Public Scholarship.
“Astrid’s remarkable contributions exemplify the commitments, spirit, rigor, and achievements represented by this award,” the faculty nomination committee contends.