The University of Texas at Austin
  • Paulina Sosa: Aiming to End Extreme Poverty

    Published: May 13, 2013

    True leaders know how to lead, follow and collaborate. Politics is not about what you can do alone, but about what you can do collectively.”

    Everything changed for Paulina Sosa, a philosophy and psychology double major, when she journeyed to a landfill community in Mexico on a church mission trip. At age 13, she was overwhelmed by a young boy’s desperation for basic needs when she presented him with a couple of trinkets.

    “I remember thinking that a piece of candy and a toy car wouldn’t mean that much to him,” Sosa says. “He has nothing, so why would this make much of a difference? But to my surprise, he was completely ecstatic and incredibly grateful for this small gift.”

    That experience kickstarted her life’s mission: Fight and end extreme poverty around the world. She began by joining the ONE Campaign, an international antipoverty advocacy group, and encouraged elected officials in her hometown of Brownsville to help make a difference at home and across the border.

    While here in college, she found the key to finding sustainable solutions for poverty is through public policy. Her interest in politics intensified as she interned for several political leaders, including Deputy Ciarán Lynch in the Irish House of Parliament in Dublin, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and State Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville).

    Sosa also served as a student representative for the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative University, an annual meeting that brings together students, celebrities, youth organizations and world leaders to take action on global challenges (watch a video she created about her experience at CGI). She then created the ONE-UT Austin student chapter and ONE Austin city chapter, organized a coalition of partnerships with other like-minded Austin groups and gathered the support of elected and community leaders.

    Her next move is to pursue a master’s degree in public health/global health policy at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Her goal is to become a policy analyst with a government agency that focuses on eradicating extreme poverty.

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    • Quote 2
      Ron Smith said on June 7, 2013 at 4:14 p.m.
      Omit poverty by government tyranny? Utopia never works.
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      Robert Wright said on May 27, 2013 at 4:03 p.m.
      Paulina Sosa, you are a major asset to Texas, to UT, to your Lord and Savior. Having taught in public and Catholic schools in Texas, and having served a few wonderful years in TEA along the way, I must say Thank You for the children who will benefit from your contributionsd to come. What begins here changes the world! Hook'em Horns!
    • Quote 2
      Sterling Wright said on May 15, 2013 at 11:23 p.m.
      This is why I go to UT because of people like her!
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      Eric Bowles said on May 15, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.
      Paulina is Rapoport Service Scholar and we are so proud of the work she does on and off campus. Thank you for carrying on the legacy of B. Rapoport forward Paulina!
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      Oscar D. Ayala said on May 14, 2013 at 3:34 p.m.
      Congratulations on your accomplishments and tremendous efforts Paulina! Your constant drive and motivation to further not only your education, but also to positively impact others is what has defined you as a dedicated leader at UT Austin. Your work with taking over and continuing the efforts of the IE Citizen-Scholars group has helped to further connect students across campus with research initiatives and finding their mentors. This is critical at the undergraduate level since this is helping students identify and link with positive role models that will guide them through their undergraduate career. Your strong involvement with IE and other organizations shows that UT students are not only accomplishing their own dreams, but are also helping others realize their dreams as well. I wish you much continued success and know your entrepreneurial spirit will help to break boundaries in public policy.
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      Ciarán Lynch said on May 14, 2013 at 5:54 a.m.
      Well done Paulina!!! It always makes me proud when I read of your achievements and successes. You have a great attitude to life and to your work. I know that the hills you have climbed so far are only a preparation for the mountains you will conquer. Keep up the good work!
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      James Parsons said on May 13, 2013 at 4:56 p.m.
      Paulina, you are highly deserving of much more recognition for the leadership you have provided both at UT and beyond, and the leadership you will certainly provide many decades into the future. Your beacon will provide a light into the world that will help countless others, and I am honored to know you. jtp.
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      Paulina Sosa said on May 13, 2013 at 4:14 p.m.
      I am eternally grateful for this huge honor and amazing opportunity to be featured on the UT Commencement 2013 Feature! I don't know how to thank enough all the people in my life that have encouraged, inspired, and motivated me to continue pressing forward in my aim to make a difference in this world. I am grateful to my Lord and Savior, to my mother and family, to my mentors and friends. I also must say that through my work and time with the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program & the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Citizen Scholars at UT Austin (, I have grown tremendously as an intellectual, student, and professional in the community and university. IE promotes the philosophy that students from ALL educational backgrounds should leverage their knowledge for social good. And- I COMPLETELY agree with this philosophy. It has been an amazing program to be a part of and I think every student at UT would greatly benefit and grow from being a part of it as well. So a big thank you to IE, ONE, CGIU, and, most of all, The University of Texas at Austin for all your education, encouragement, & inspiration!
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