Idol Family Fellow and Co-Director Jenny Linares (C’23) Brings Community to the Hilltop
After participating in the Idol Family Summer Fellowship Program, Jenny Linares (C’23) found the meaning and community she had been searching for on the Hilltop. Now co-director of the fellowship program, Linares hopes to help other Georgetown students find the same sense of belonging.
Connecting with Communities
During Linares’ sophomore spring, Georgetown implemented virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic and though Linares was living on campus, she found it difficult to connect with the community overall. While looking for funding for a summer internship, she discovered the Idol Family Fellowship, decided to apply and was accepted. Linares says that she “loved everything about my experience.”
“I connected so deeply with everyone – the staff, my cohort, my roommates – it truly gave me the community that I was looking for at Georgetown,” Linares says. “This is a program specifically for low-income, first-generation students, and having that common background and understanding of our shared struggle made us all grow close quickly. We connected deeply over our passions, shared interests, our backgrounds and what we wanted to do with our lives.”
During her internship, Linares worked as a legal intern for Mi Mujeres, a nonprofit that provides legal services to immigrant women living in the DMV area. Linares was responsible for processing applications for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The government and history double major was able to apply her knowledge from Georgetown classes like Race, Gender, and American Politics to her work experience. In that course, Linares and her classmates discussed how communities of women act differently politically due to their unique intersectional identities.
For instance, immigrant women often don’t feel comfortable speaking out against injustices they experience because of the potential negative ramifications that it can have on their legal status.
“Throughout my internship, I interacted with many immigrant women who were the victims of domestic violence and crime, but they were terrified to seek justice for fear of being deported,” Linares explains. “It gave me a different perspective than I previously had, because it’s really easy to learn about something like that, but to actually see these individuals’ documents, read their stories and have a more intimate understanding of what they went through was such a different experience.”
Linares says that the Idol Fellowship was not only crucial for the financial aspect of her internship, but for the community support element as well.
“I would not have been able to complete the full time internship without the financial support from the Idol Fellowship and I was so glad that I was able to because it was such a wonderful experience,” Linares explains. “But just as importantly, I am so glad I had access to the Idol support system, because I was working with extremely heavy content on a daily basis and I could not have made it through without the community around me.”
Due to her positive experience with the fellowship, Linares jumped at the opportunity to become co-director of the program where she will help guide the next cohort of Idol Fellows through the process.
Linares plans to generate the same strong sense of community that she had access to by planning events and cohort activities.
“It was those little moments that really made a difference over the summer and allowed us to grow close, and I am eager to give back and create that same experience for the next group,” Linares says.
Outside of Idol
In addition to her work as co-director for the Idol Family Fellowship, Linares works as an undergraduate staff assistant at the Women’s Center for the director Dr. Annie Selak , who has been “a grounding spirit and mentor” to her.
She is also a research assistant for Dr. Nadia Brown, chair of the Women and Gender Studies Program who has been a key mentor to Linares. The two have collaborated on not one, but two research projects.
“Jenny produces high-quality work in a short amount of time — my entire research team is thoroughly impressed by Jenny,” Brown says. “It’s also been a sincere pleasure to have Jenny in my class this semester. I’ve found her to be thoughtful, reflexive and deeply analytical – all qualities that she uses to improve our classroom discussions. She’s a star, simply put.”
After graduation, Linares hopes to attend law school. Though she is still determining her area of focus, Linares says that she is interested in health and healthcare policy.
“I’ve always found the healthcare disparities within marginalized communities to be a huge problem and one that I could help address with a law degree,” Linares says. “I’m still exploring my options, but I’ve noticed that a common theme throughout my interests is social justice and social impact because it encapsulates a bit of everything.”
–by Shelby Roller (G’19)