The Greatest Good

Kristie Hernandez ’13 is committed to social justice. And as the first recipient of the Gabrielle Giffords Internship Grant in Public Service, she helped make it happen.

Established by Scripps College after a 2011 shooting left alumna and congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords ’93 seriously injured, the grant placed Kristie on the front lines of the Labor Community Strategy Center’s community rights campaign. While there, she spearheaded collaborative research efforts with Justice for Families and conducted further research on what the school-to-prison pipeline looks like for certain students.

“I want to use my education to serve the greatest public good,” Kristie says in consideration of the award. “It’s only through compassionate political leadership that we begin to remedy educational inequalities and social injustices.”

Kristie’s passion for public service and community activism stems, in part, from personal relationships forged at Scripps College. She is a founder of the Scripps Social Justice Network and member of the Chiapas Support Committee, Workers for Justice, and Café con Leche. Kristie is also quick to thank professors Mark Golub, Thomas Kim, Cindy Forster, and Damien Sojoyner as inspirations.

“I wouldn’t be who I am today,” she says. “They have given me the support I need as a first-generation college student and have challenged me to not only theorize what a more socially just world might look like, but to go out and actively create that world.”

Kristie is well on her way to creating that world – one of her research projects at LCSC evolved into a McNair Scholars project at Claremont Graduate University. Of course, it’s no surprise Kristie plans to dedicate her life to creating a more socially just world as community organizer, researcher, and professor. The Gabrielle Giffords ’93 Grant gives her the opportunity to do just that.

“When I first came to Scripps I had aspirations of becoming a congresswoman like Gabby Giffords,” she says. “While my education at Scripps has changed my political trajectory, she continues to be an inspiring leader.”

Kristie’s successor for the grant will be selected in April. Until then, Kristie – and the rest of the Scripps community – will think about the woman who inspired the award.

“I think Gabrielle Giffords demonstrated an incredible amount of wisdom, strength and integrity in her decision to step down from office,” says Kristie. “After watching the State of the Union Address, it’s evident that everyone from President Obama to us Scrippsies wish Gabby well as she continues on her road to recovery.”