AboutOur PeopleNicole Méndez
Fellow, Class of 2025

Nicole Méndez

Criminology, Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
New York, NY

Nicole is a prospective double major in Criminology and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Academically, Nicole is exposed to diverse perspectives and controversial discussions. As a PPE major, Nicole is learning to approach the same topic from multiple perspectives, whether it be through a philosophical, political, or economic lens. And as a Criminology major, a field focused on creating a more humane and effective criminal justice system, Nicole is prioritizing citizenship and wellness for the people in Philadelphia. “For example, it is a known fact that the stigma around criminal records can make it significantly challenging for incarcerated people to successfully reintegrate into society.” As a writing tutor for incarcerated people in Philadelphia, Nicole hopes to help incarcerated people reintegrate successfully by providing them with writing tools needed for successful reentry.

Nicole aspires to become a lawyer and to be of serve her community. As a Mexican-American woman of immigrant parents who has lived in Mexico and the United States, Nicole has a keen awareness of the social and political influences the two countries have on one another. While living in Mexico for four years, Nicole witnessed the damaging effects of domestic political instability and U.S. policies on low-income Mexicans. Living in NYC, she had access to more educational and professional opportunities but also observed racial and wealth disparities. These experiences gave Nicole insight into the lives of immigrants, the ways in which economic disparities affect low-income communities, and the government’s role in supporting its people.

Prior to entering Penn, Nicole was civically engaged through her role as President of her school’s Latinx Student Association and participating in feminist internships. As a Penn student, she continued to make efforts to find civic communities on campus. For example, as part of Penn’s Gender Equity Pre-Orientation program, she developed meaningful connections with the women at PWC as exploring topics such as gender identity, wellness, and gender equity. She is also in training to become a writing tutor at Penn’s Marks Family Writing Center where she will develop more meaningful connections with tutors, staff and be of service to Penn students. Driven by a desire to use her writing training to assist other people in Philadelphia, she is currently working with Penn’s Prison Outreach Committee and the Address This! organization to become a writing tutor for incarcerated people in Philadelphia, and help provide more opportunities for them upon release. Lastly, she is still part of a community in NYC as one of the volunteers for the Sonia and Celina Sotomayor Judicial Internship Program (SCS JIP) where she works where she works to spread the word about the program to underrepresented students interested in pursuing a legal career to provide them with the opportunity to intern for a state or federal judge over the summer and access other legal resources.