Hispanic Heritage Month: Ariadne Sambrano

Hispanic Heritage Month: Ariadne Sambrano

Ariadne Sambrano is a first-generation, transfer student elected to be the Vice President of the Associated Student Government.

To loosely quote Shakespeare and the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though Ariadne Sambrano be but little, she is fierce.

The senior at the University of San Diego stands at 5-foot-2, but her passion for helping others is immense. Enrolled in courses through the College of Arts and Sciences, she wants to focus on international human rights after completing a master's through the college's combined degree program in international relations.

Sambrano is also a first-generation, transfer student elected to be the Vice President of the Associated Student Government where she can use her position to amplify student voices.

Her newfound passion to empower a variety of groups is exactly that – new.

Sambrano started as a pre-med major while attending community college in her hometown of Monterey, California. It wasn’t until she took a political science course led by a woman of color that she considered changing majors.

“I walked into the classroom and she said, ‘you’re all going to be lawyers!’” I was like, ‘this lady is crazy! I want to be a doctor.' But she began showing us how to analyze and utilize the law to make societal change as a woman of color, which was inspiring.”

Sambrano’s plan to become a doctor changed and her new dream began to take shape.

Her decision to change majors was also largely inspired by her identity and her parents’ experiences.

Sambrano’s mother is from El Salvador, which in the 1970s faced civil war. Her mother and her grandparents fled to the United States for safety. Her father, on the other hand, was raised in Mexico and faced economic hardships. He came to the U.S. for economic opportunity.

“I grew up with my mother believing every individual has a social inherent responsibility to contribute back to the world, regardless if it’s small or big,” she says. “For me, that philosophy was ingrained in my mind.”

Sambrano is closely following her mother’s advice as evidenced by the work she has done so far.

This summer, she was selected as a MICAH Fellow through the Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community, Awareness and Social Action. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sambrano carried out her fellowship virtually, committing 32 hours a week as a communications intern for Espacio Migrante. The non-profit is based in Tijuana and helps asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“One thing I learned this summer is that leadership can oftentimes be perceived as individualistic, but in order to facilitate change, you have to take a collaborative approach, or else you’re not going to get things done. That’s what I hope to bring into my new role as Vice President, to invite others to collaborate.”

Sambrano is continuing to utilize her knowledge in her role as Vice President of the Associated Student Government. Despite all she has accomplished in her short time at USD, Sambrano admits she still battles imposter syndrome.

“I know it’s a common experience for students of color that we feel we need to go above and beyond or break a level of expectation in order to make ourselves known, but I hope I can inspire others to be assertive, to take up space and make their voices heard.” 

Sambrano’s journey is far from over. Beyond having the goal of completing a master’s degree, she is tossing around the idea of attending law school or earning a Ph.D, focusing on international law with an emphasis on human rights and immigration policy in Washington, D.C.

No matter where she goes, her passion will carry her.

— Kelsey Grey ’15 (BA)