Joanna Cuatlayo

Joanna Cuatlayo, RTA, Columbia College ‘26

Date Interviewed: August 4, 2023

Introduce yourself!

My name is Joanna Cuatlayo. I was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. I’m a sophomore at Columbia College where I’m pursuing a major in Computer Science with a special concentration in Public Health.

What drew you to work at F&C?

As an alum of F&C I have seen the great things that happen in the program. It was not too long ago that I was doing my summer readings, responses, and making my civic project. Now being at Columbia, I want to give back to all those who helped me get where I’m at. For me, that includes helping the next generation of students. F&C lets me do just that!

What is your favorite part of the program?

Definitely the summer social programming! I know many of you guys were tired but I always loved the special conversations that came up. The small groups let me talk to several of the students on a more one on one level. I also really enjoyed the wind down hours as we wrapped our days up and talked about random things that relate (and don’t relate) to the program.

What is your favorite reading in the program and why?

This is a hard one for me, but my instinct tells me Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War (Trans-national America is a close second)! Reading this made me fall in love with learning after being in COVID. I remember Kathy Eden’s talk and how much it impacted me. The way these Athenian men were perceived made me think of my own values and what I do to protect them.

What is one piece of advice that you would like to give to F&C students?

Always reach out when you need help—you all have a lot of people behind your backs to help bring you to the places you want to go. Embrace the unique journey you’re on and trust the process.

What is one fun fact about you?

I play rugby at Columbia and we won Tri-States this past season!