Empowering Curiosity: Shaw Center Alumna Rachel Vicente Facilitates DEIA Workshop

On Friday, November 11, DEIA consultant and strategist Rachel Vicente ’12 hosted DEIA Workshop: Shifting the Balance in collaboration with the Mary Ann Shaw Center. 

The workshop invited students to explore the topic of power and its relationship with DEIA. Through multiple exercises and discussions, an effort to assess real-world dynamics of power prompted the critical examination of the systems of oppression that misuse it.

Students were asked to reflect on the different ways power presents itself in their lives. “If you really want to operate as a student leader, the very first topic is understanding power- individual and the institutional,” Vicente said. By asking these tough questions, students can understand power and how they can leverage it in an impactful way.  

It is important for student leaders to understand the power they hold in their position, as emphasized in the workshop. Vicente encouraged attendees to consider their identities and how they may have impacted their experiences on campus.   

Graduated from SU in 2012, Vicente began at the Shaw Center as an SU Literacy Corps Tutor, when she was later asked to become a Leadership Intern. Throughout her years at the Shaw Center, Vicente developed a curiosity for educational inequity.  

“Being a Shaw Center Intern changed the trajectory of my life pretty significantly,” Vicente said. “I began as a biochemistry major and sociology minor, however, as I went into communities and intimately learned about inequities involving education issues, I became curious about what it takes to solve educational inequity in this country.” 

From her experiences as a tutor and intern, Vicente applied what she was learning in her sociology classes through community engagement. Initially on a pre-med track, Vicente switched her focus to education, where she later joined Teach for America after graduation. Her passion for equitable justice quickly developed as she explored her curiosity of solving real-world inequities. 

“I did not realize how curious of a person I was until I noticed how often I questioned the things around me,” Vicente said. “I operate with a lot of curiosity.” Curiosity is what has always driven Vicente, and still does today. Vicente now runs her own consulting firm, Rachel Vicente Counsulting, where the focus of her business is helping people understand what their mission, vision, and values are. She consults her clients about any gaps they may have and advises them on how to close them in an equity-focused way. 

To be critical and constantly reflective of yourself and the world around you is integral in understanding the systems that run our lives. Vicente’s vision is “a world where people can be who they are and are able to embody what is most important to them.” Through her DEIA work, Vicente hopes to empower her clients by helping them hone their power. 

Story by Ava Portney ’26