On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Britney Aguayo ’21 stands in front of Park Manor South in her cap and gown. Having just walked across the stage as part of the in-person Commencement celebration, she now waits with friends to take pictures next to a giant “2021” erected on the lawn.
It’s a moment thick with joy, pride, and gratitude, and Aguayo thinks of her family and of her home in the Bronx, New York. A first-generation college student, she reflects on how far she has come and the people who have helped her to reach this milestone in her life.
“Me graduating today is a miracle,” she says. “It is a big deal.”
Aguayo’s beloved Bronx is never far from her mind. On her cap, she has emblazoned a line from a fellow Bronx native, rapper Cardi B: “I’m just a regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx.”
Aguayo may identify as a “regular girl” from the Bronx, but she has left a lasting impact on the Babson community. On Saturday, she will deliver the student address to her fellow Class of 2021 undergraduates as part of the digital Commencement ceremony.
A strong leader who celebrates and champions diversity, Aguayo has been an important contributor to a number of College organizations, most notably as a Posse Scholar. As she mills about Park Manor South and that giant “2021,” Aguayo is surrounded by her fellow scholars, smiling and taking pictures together. They are a tight-knit group, and, for Aguayo, Posse is the key part of her Babson story.
“I honestly could say that without Posse,” she says, “I really don’t think that I would have ended up at Babson, graduating, and being the Commencement speaker.”
Babson has a strong and ongoing partnership with the Posse Foundation, a nonprofit organization that recruits and trains public high school students with extraordinary academic and leadership potential to become Posse Scholars at top colleges around the country. Posse Scholars, who receive full tuition scholarships, have been a part of Babson’s campus since 2003.
Growing up in the Bronx, Aguayo was an academic standout and a student leader, accomplishments that gained her notice as a potential scholar. Her guidance counselor nominated her for the scholarship, and she went through a three-month interview process. “Luckily enough, I got that call telling me that I ended up being a scholar,” she says.
“Being a Posse Scholar means being a leader that focuses on community. It means being cognizant of people’s emotions and people’s experiences and identities.”
Since arriving at Babson in 2017, Aguayo has explored the College’s rich, diverse community. She enjoys spending time with student groups such as the Black Student Union, Pride, and Origins for Necessary Equality, or ONE Tower as it’s commonly called, a special interest housing community in which individuals from various cultures and backgrounds come together to share their experiences. “It was always genuine conversation,” she says. “I got to learn a lot.”
Aguayo believes that strong leaders need to understand the perspective of others. “Being a Posse Scholar means being a leader that focuses on community. It means being cognizant of people’s emotions and people’s experiences and identities,” she says. “And, being a Posse Scholar means being empathetic and using empathy to lead in whatever project you take on.”
Aguayo has accomplished much in her time at Babson. She served as a student ambassador to Babson’s Office of Multicultural and Identity Programs, working to advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the College, and she mentored Babson students for the Management Leadership for Tomorrow professional network, which supports students of color in becoming management leaders.
Aguayo also was president of ONE Tower, and she served as a representative of Babson’s Posse program during events on campus and in New York City.
“Our Babson community is stronger for her impressive leadership,” said Vikki Rodgers, professor of ecology, chair of the Math and Science Division, and faculty mentor to Babson Posse 14, the cohort of 10 Posse Scholars who are graduating this year.
“Britney works hard and speaks up actively for those who are marginalized and unheard at Babson,” Rodgers continues. “She has taken on an impressive number of leadership roles in a variety of different areas, all of them working directly or indirectly toward making Babson more inclusive, equitable, and just.”
Aguayo gives a lot of credit to both past and present Posse Scholars for their support. “I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for Posse, and for the older scholars that came before me, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully take on all of the leadership positions that I did,” she says. “The people who helped prepare me for these experiences taught me how to facilitate a conversation, how to manage a team, and how to manage conflict. These are all things that I learned from my peers. And, without them, I wouldn’t be the leader that I am today.”
After graduation, Aguayo will go to work for Mondelēz International, a snack company in East Hanover, New Jersey. She will be working in the sales department as a sales leadership development associate.
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