We love to see Latinas breaking barriers everywhere, especially in prestigious spaces like academia that remain white and male-dominated. This month, history and literature student Raquel Coronell Uribe became the first-ever Latina president of The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University’s student newspaper. With its 148-year history, it also happens to be the oldest college newspaper in the U.S. Born to Colombian parents, both of whom were also involved in journalism, Coronell Uribe first pursued a pre-med track in undergrad, only to switch to journalism after joining The Crimson, where she currently covers police accountability.
“I think it’s really the place where I found a home on Harvard’s campus,” Coronell Uribe said to NBC News. “It’s taught me so much. It’s really made me more outgoing, made me a better journalist and it’s given me some of my closest friends.”
During her presidential term, which is slated to begin in January 2022, she hopes to make the newspaper a more equitable and diverse space for all students. A commendable undertaking considering Latinx students only make up 9.21 percent of Harvard’s population demographic, decreasing from 12.7 percent in the class of 2014, according to DataUSA. And a recent survey conducted this past summer by the Asian American Journalists Association found that only 10 percent of college newspapers across the U.S. were Latinx-led, which makes Coronell’s accomplishment that much more incredible. Coronell Uribe also leads the Crimson’s internal Latinx affinity group.
“I’m hoping that opening that door will allow it to stay open,” she told NPR. “That’s what makes me the most excited.”
She joins other Latinx students who have also made waves at Harvard this year, including Stephany Gutíerez, the daughter of undocumented parents who was accepted into Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, and Columbia in April of this year. Earlier that same month, Indigenous Mexican student Elizabeth Esteban received a full-ride scholarship to attend Harvard, despite her Indigenous group’s cultural expectations for women.
“I just wanted to break those barriers,” Esteban previously told NBC.
Following her 2023 class graduation, Coronell Uribe told NBC that she hopes to attend law school while still pursuing journalism and keeping her parents’ own legacy in the industry alive. Especially with both hailing from Colombia, where journalists are often persecuted for certain types of coverage, remaining in the field is of huge importance to her. The issue hits home for her as her family was forced to move to the U.S. when she was 6 because of death threats her dad received being an investigative journalist.
But no matter what she decides, we are thrilled to celebrate Coronell Uribe’s historic win and so excited to see what her presidency at The Crimson will bring in the new year!