Dafne Franco – Young Trailblazers to Follow 2019


Photographs by Hector Gutierrez


"Dafne has managed to achieve her ancestors´wildest dreams through her dedication, hard work and poise. Dafne and I grew a strong bond throughout my senior year at Sacred Heart University. She became a shoulder for me to cry on while I applied for Law School, a person to look up to and a person to grow with. The impact Dafne has left on my life, she leaves with everyone she encounters. Maya Angelou once said, “Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself and then stand up for somebody else.” Her passion to help others has led her to fearlessly speak out on issues of social justice and immigration with the vocation to become a lawyer. Dafne is a student, a leader, a role model, a sister, a daughter and an amazing friend."

– Julia Hutchinson


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A TRAILBLAZER?


To be a trailblazer means that you are creating a path for yourself and for others to follow.  It is also someone who is going to do big things throughout their lifetime.


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A CREATOR? HOW DO YOU MANIFEST YOUR CREATIVITY?


To be a creator means being able to start something from scratch and make it grow. I don’t really know how I manifest my creativity. I sort of envision what I want whether that be for an event, for myself or an idea. Then I just make the vision come to life. People often make fun of me and say “Dafne has her vision” because once I have my vision, I want to make it a reality.


HOW DID SACRED HEART SHAPE YOUR CAREER AND PURPOSE?


I think Sacred Heart helped me to give me the knowledge that I have now which I will need in the future. I also think that the faculty here is such a great support system throughout everything. Specifically, Dr. Gary Rose, who has been my professor and advisor throughout my SHU career. His classes have given me insight in the fields that I enjoy the most which are politics and law. At the same time I think the Career Development office has also helped me lift off the start of my career by helping me find my first internship with Congressman Jim Himes, and help me edit my long resume. Shoutout to Corey Stokes, she’s a real one.



WHAT DO YOU HOPE NEVER CHANGES?
I hope that people who believe in social justice never stop fighting to protect people’s rights.

WHAT SHOULD WE PAY MORE ATTENTION?


We should be paying more attention to the issues with the detention centers in this country. I feel like it does make the headlines sometimes, but people don’t think it’s a humanitarian issue because they hold illegal people. Although they may be illegal, they deserve to have basic human rights and be treated like human beings and not animals. Most people in these centers are adults and children who are predominately Latinos. The conditions are horrible and the government does not seem to care. What is scary about it all is that people think it is okay, but these centers can be compared to concentration camps. Although people are being killed directly, they live in harsh conditions with no beds, poor food, and lack of health care. The other problem with this is that kids are put in front of a judge without lawyers and just an interpreter. If they are granted to stay, they are put in the foster care system which is already a mess in this country.


WHO'S BEEN THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSON IN YOUR LIFE?


My mother is the most influential person in my life because she has been there to support me through everything. She is a strong woman who came from living in poverty in Peru to being a AP Spanish teacher in a prestigious high school in Long Island. Whenever I doubted my potential or feared taking a risk, my mother was the one who would push me and be there to measure how far I’ve come.




IF YOU COULD INTERVIEW ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?


I would interview Martin Luther King Jr. He was such a powerful leader who did not fear being the face of a movement. He was a wise man who wanted to fight for equality.


WHAT PARTICULAR EXPERIENCE AT SHU SHAPED YOU THE MOST?


The experience at SHU that shaped me the most was being an Orientation Leader. Prior to taking on this at the end of my freshman year, I was not as outspoken. I tell this to all my Orientees and FYE students. When I went to orientation, I sat in the back and barely talked. My freshman year I was shy but involved at the same time. I almost did not apply because I was nervous of having to be in charge of a group of students. But I am glad I did because it was one of the best experiences of my life. This position helped me feel comfortable talking in front of a lot of people. It also helped show me that I like to be a resource to people. The position also helped me network with others. It made me more of a leader and helped me gain more confidence in myself. I decided to continue it for the rest of my time at SHU.


HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS IN YOUR LIFE?


I define someone being successful by achieving your personal goals and being happy doing what you love. If you’re able to meet the personal goals you set for yourself and you choose a career path that enjoy then you are successful. Many people tend to think that having a lot of money is what makes you successful, but I don’t see it that way. I think that some people have that mentality because of how this society idolizes those who are wealthy.


HOW WAS FAILURE BEEN IMPORTANT IN YOUR LIFE?
Failure has been very important in my life because it is what motivates me to work harder. You have to fail in order to succeed because then you understand how hard you have to work and you appreciate things better.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF IN YOUR LIFE?


I would say that I am proudest of all that I have achieved and experienced throughout my undergraduate years. I would have never seen myself holding various leadership positions and being accepted into 3 different internships in one year.




FIRST THOUGHT EVERY MORNING?


“What do I have to do today?” I mentally plan out my schedule for the day to make sure I stay on top of my tasks.


WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF IN YOUR LIFE?
I would say that I am proudest of all that I have achieved and experienced throughout my undergraduate years. I would have never seen myself holding various leadership positions and being accepted into 3 different internships in one year.



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