AboutOur PeopleDenise Sanchez
Heashot of woman with long black hair smiling standing outdoors on campus wearing a black and white dotted blouse
Fellow, Class of 2027

Denise Sanchez

Cognitive Neuroscience and Creative Writing, Urban Education
Philadelphia, PA

A bilingual Latina from South Philadelphia, Denise Sanchez is eager to uncover all that West Philadelphia has to offer. Despite her interest in journaling, swimming, and skiing, Denise finds her greatest joy in working with children. Whether it’s taking toddlers on a trip to park or exploring how to improve literacy skills with her students, Denise believes in nurturing children’s imaginations and exploring different styles of curiosity, no matter the age. Committed to equitable early childhood education and advocating for learning-through-play initiatives, Denise is passionate about reforming the U.S. education system and aspires to pen a children’s picture book in the future. Influenced by nannies, pedagogists, educators, and writers alike, a profound admiration for those who inspire her has driven Denise to pursue education. 

At Penn, Denise is considering a double major in Cognitive Science: Cognitive Neuroscience and Creative Writing, with a minor in Urban Education. Though the areas are seemingly unrelated, Denise believes that words—both written and spoken—are powerful agents of change. By discovering connections between nodes, and writing personal stories, she believes inclusive educational practices will emerge. Actively engaged on campus, Denise serves as Secretary for Aspiring Educators at Penn, a math and literacy tutor through the Penn GSE tutoring initiative, is a Benjamin Franklin Scholar (Integrated Studies Program), and a proud QuestBridge scholar. This summer, Denise will take on the role of research assistant in the Changing Brain Lab at Penn, delving into the impact of environmental influences, such as poverty and stress, on early childhood brain development. She intends to further explore the intersectionality of race, socioeconomic status, education, and child brain development through the Paideia fellowship. 

Denise was drawn to the SNF Paideia Fellowship for its interdisciplinary, human-centered approach to learning. An education that “strives to uplift communities, not just individuals.”  Additionally, she is an avid CD collector and is always on the lookout for album recommendations, anticipating the opportunity to connect over music with her fellow cohort members.