Get to know ... Karen Maizincho, Fairfield U. student giving back
FAIRFIELD — Karen Maizincho, a junior at Fairfield University, is busy. She’s sporting a white suit, a black coat for the snow and a backpack that is packed to the brim.
Maizincho has just arrived from the student career fair, and will head back as soon as she can. Nearing her final year of college, she’s one of the many moving and hustling for a career opportunity.
And for Maizincho, her career plans are personal — she wants to help others through her language and interpreting skills.
“I want to give back to people here, in my country and everywhere else,” said Maizincho, whose family hails from Ecuador. The 20-year-old has recently returned from a four-week trip to Brazil where she helped local farmers with sustainable agricultural practices.
Maizincho spoke about her experiences and how they have shaped her educational and career aspirations.
Q: What are you studying and what got you interested in it?
A: I’m a major in psychology and Spanish and my minors are in Latin and Caribbean studies and health studies, too.
I came in undecided and was all over the place, but then I took a course which was medical Spanish and we had a lot of trips about interpreting and learning about health access. It was all very interesting.
We saw a movie about psychologists and doctors helping people who are undocumented and then I took a psychology course and that tied everything up.
I also wanted to know about the history of where I’m from — Ecuador. I just came back from Brazil and I took history classes before going to know what I was going to experience.
Q: How was your trip to Brazil?
A: It was part of a Global Scholars Program. I wanted to go to Guatemala, but then I opted for Brazil because I wanted to learn a new language.
Q: What career are you planning to pursue?
A: Right now, I’m really interested in interpreting because I have a lot of background in it and I just want to give back to people here, in my country and everywhere else. I suffered with my mother in that she never had help.
When she had me, she went to a doctor’s appointment just like she does now. She doesn’t understand anything and that’s something I want to change because I know there’s still a lack of resources for people who are undocumented or don’t speak both languages.
When my mother came to Brooklyn in 1995, she had had a miscarriage before me and after that she had trauma. She wanted to know what was going on with me, but when she went to see the doctor, she came out now knowing any more.
I know there’s a lot of women here who go through the same thing and that’s something I want to help change that. Not just with pregnancies but anything.
Q: How did you get involved with Caroline House?
A: My father came to Connecticut a month before us, found a job and brought us over here. My mom went to St. Charles and heard about a school that taught in Spanish and English. Caroline House (in Bridgeport) was just down the road and my mom saw it as a great opportunity. She went to Caroline House and that’s where I went until I was 2 years old, and my mother went back when my brother was born.
Caroline House was a big part for my family. It shaped my mom with the little English she learned and pushed her to push me. She was the type of mom that bothered me every day. I wasn’t the best student ever but my brother has gotten honor rolls ever since.
Q: What are your plans for senior year?
A: More opportunities. I’m going to California for spring break with the campus ministry to the border. We’re going to help out families in San Diego. I’ll be there for a week from March 16-23. We’re staying at a church and raising awareness about the program.