CPE Alumni Spotlight with Diana Acosta

July 11, 2019

Diana Acosta grew up in Washington, DC and in Hyattsville, MD. In 2006, Diana joined CPE because she saw it as an opportunity to grow not only academically but also personally within her community. She especially appreciated the care with which the staff matched her with a mentor.

What’s one memorable moment you have of you and your mentor?

A memorable moment I had with my mentor was when I had a writing assignment due my senior spring year and stayed up all weekend working on it. It had been a tough and sometimes overwhelming year and this assignment felt extra difficult with everything going on at the time. I remember feeling embarrassed but finally asking Kimberly if she could help edit the document as it was due the next day. She immediately sent me her feedback. I made the changes and turned it in feeling so much better having an extra set of eyes on it. Kimberly’s willingness to support meant a great deal to me, especially because I did not have other support systems around me or someone at home who could take a thorough look. It also taught me that it was alright to ask for support.

How did your mentor help you with the college application process?

Kimberly supported my college application process by checking in on how my process was going. She would also provide feedback on some of my essays. It was so helpful having an extra set of eyes and to know someone cared about how I was doing.

What college did you go to and what career path did you choose?

I went to Harvard University where I studied Sociology and Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights. All throughout undergrad, I worked with the Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA), a student-run nonprofit focused on social justice. There, I worked with the amazing South End community and led programming initiatives. The people I met and what I learned through this experience motivated me to explore careers in education and social justice in my home community. Therefore, I returned home to DC and led enrichment programming at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), Mary’s Center, and Georgetown University. I am currently at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation working on community development and equitable finance.

In what ways has CPE impacted your life?

CPE has been a meaningful part of my life since 8th grade. The staff truly got to know me and my family. Their genuine care and love for us has been a model for me throughout all my experiences. They supported my growth in all ways and I am grateful for their thoughtfulness and intentionality. CPE represents a family for me along with the rest of my cohorts who I still keep in touch with.

What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

In my free time I enjoy reading books, creating song playlists, and spending time with loved ones. I also love spending time with pups 🙂 and exploring new places (and food)! 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Some of the best advice I’ve ever received comes from Audre Lorde: “When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” As I reflect on my growth, I think about all the strong people who have influenced my journey and continue to inspire me, remembering the resilience of my communities and the power of sharing our narratives.