Student Profile

Karen Penafiel '16

How did you hear about St. Mike’s?

My volleyball coach in high school had told us about St. Mike’s and my high school, Christ the King, is a partner school so there was an overnight. It was on October 7th – 8th, 2011 and we just came up and I feel in love when I got on campus. I can’t say I’ve turned back.

Why did you choose Saint Michael’s College?

I did about 15 overnights at different colleges; I definitely wanted to make sure it was the right fit for me. St. Mike’s was my first, it was the one that stood out the most and I feel like it set the bar because it was the first; every college I went to I compared it and none of them seemed to have what St. Mike’s had.

How have you made it your ‘Home Away From Home’?

A lot of inner city kids attend here too, mainly from the Brooklyn/Queens area, and we just kind of found each other, especially in the Center for Multicultural Affairs office. We’re always in there laughing, joking and helping each other with homework; that reminds me of home. I’m from Newark so it’s always loud and with my friends it’s never quiet, so I feel like I’m right at home even though I’m 300 miles away.

What are you going to do next? What are you excited about once you’ve graduated?

This is a few years from now, but I hope to open a center for young women in the inner city from the ages of 7 to 17 to help them obtain their goals; either the academic route, the athletic route or in the arts. That’s why I like Admissions because now I know a little bit about what Admissions is looking for in a student. Once I have my center, I’ll know how to help the young women become the student a college seeks.

At St. Mike’s, what kind of groups or organizations have you gotten involved in?

I’m going to be an RA for my 3rd year next year. I was an International Resident Assistant, now I’m with sophomores, next year I’ll be back in the Quad Commons once again. I was President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Society my sophomore year. I was the Class Treasurer my first-year and I am the Admissions Overnight Coordinator.

I guess I’ve enjoyed everything on campus; the overnights are the one thing I’ve come to love. I love planning them; I love when the prospective students come in and then when they return in the spring as accepted students. I just really love the thinking ‘why would this campus be for me?’ I just love that the experience; getting texts or emails asking ‘hey do you know about this club or do you have this club?’ If it’s no I’m always like, ‘no, but if you come you can start it!’ That’s my biggest passion on campus, so far.

I’m also applying to be Secretary of MLK!

What attracts you about the overnight process that you’ve stuck with it so that now you help St. Mike’s put on their overnights?

At my overnight I was able to not only see the academic classes, but I was also able to see the clubs and St. Mike’s at night. With the overnight, I feel like St. Mike’s is the only overnight that gives you the full perspective of St. Mike’s. You get to go to a class, you work with some of the clubs, you get to meet current students and hear why they chose St. Mike’s, what they like about St. Mike’s and why St. Mike’s is there home. It helps bring it all together. My choices were between St. Mike’s and Syracuse, and they’re completely different. I was thinking of how it would be to have a Syracuse degree, but I don’t think the degree is worth four years in a classroom of 200 students when at Saint Michael’s the classes have 22 students and the professor knows your name, every time.

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