An unwavering advocate for social justice, Nicole Cariño ’21 arrived at Puget Sound through the university’s partnership with The Posse Foundation, which helps outstanding young leaders from the San Francisco Bay Area afford a college education.

Nicole Carino ’21. Photo by Cabriela Hasbun

Nicole swiftly became a champion of inclusivity and equity on the Puget Sound campus. As president of the Associated Students of University of Puget Sound, Nicole held an ex-officio membership on the university’s board of trustees. She had a profound impact on the board, including inspiring members to begin each business meeting with an acknowledgment of the university’s physical location on historically indigenous land. Additionally, she spearheaded new student- and community-focused initiatives, facilitating social justice workshops around campus throughout her time at Puget Sound.

“As a woman of color, I find it significant when my peers see women like me not just surviving but thriving in historically white and elite institutions,” Nicole says.

A first-generation Filipina and the first college graduate in her family, Nicole collaborated with Puget Sound students and faculty alike to encourage them to critique social injustice and prioritize empathy, kindness, and belonging above all else.

First Puget Sound Posse Cohort (Class of 2020)
In 2016, Puget Sound welcomed its first cohort of Posse Scholars, pictured at right, as members of the Class of 2020.

Students like Nicole embody the character and commitment to social justice that we hope to further through our Legacies Project. By directly addressing Puget Sound’s involvement in our region’s complicated history around race, we’ll advance public understanding while creating a platform for compassion, collaboration,
and change.

Upon graduation, Nicole became a trainer with The Posse Foundation, where she led outreach and recruitment efforts in the Bay Area. “I live the impacts of such a program,” she says, “and it is an honor to continue to lift up scholars—past, current, and future.”