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Passionate About Advocacy: Claudia Nachega’23

Model UN member Claudia Nachega ‘23 is passionate about international relations and gender equity. She loves to advocate, to amplify the voices of others, and to make change happen. During time at home during the pandemic, she connected with like-minded teens on social media, getting involved with organizations by conducting outreach, planning webinars and conventions, and even leading day-to-day operations.

“My first and favorite webinar was with Professor Anthony Arend [Government Department Chair] at Georgetown University,” said Claudia. She’d seen him speak at the virtual NAIMUN conference and thought he would be a fabulous speaker for young people interested in policy.

Claudia spends much of her time working to advance gender equity, a topic she’s been passionate about since childhood. Claudia remembers her father taking her to Barnes and Noble in second grade and seeing a pink book about Malala Yousafzai, who advocated for girls’ education in Pakistan. “I loved her story. I loved the passion she had,” she said. “Malala being a young woman was inspiring. It got me interested in international relations and especially that location - the Middle East.”

Attending an all-female school has made a difference for Claudia, who said she hadn’t realized the impact until she studied Arabic in Jordan last summer through the State Department alongside 19 other teens. “My friend told me, ‘You’re a different student in the classroom. You conduct yourself differently, more confidently, more articulately,’” shared Claudia. 

This fall, Claudia plans to attend Barnard College, the women’s college at Columbia University. “Mrs. Foreman told me to look at the course catalog,” Claudia said. She reviewed the catalog of Columbia University and found herself drawn to classes taught at Barnard. “I’ve thrived at Visitation because I go to a school with girls. A lot of what we face and discuss here has helped enrich my understanding of the kinds of issues I want to advocate for,” she said.

Being in DC and seeing international relations and local politics play out in her hometown has made her feel close to the action. Claudia is excited to bring her passion for advocacy to New York. “A big part of youth-led movements is empowering campus organizing,” she said.

She hopes to study international relations and economics, but, “I feel like I have so many interests and passions that evolve every day.”