Amy Maldonado
University of Chicago, Sociology
Class of 2022

The first in her family to attend college, Amy Maldonado – a sociology major in the University of Chicago’s Class of 2022 – found the Women of Color Conference transformative, fueling her confidence to express her authenticity.

Why is Fort?’s mission important, and how does it impact you personally?
Fort? is improving access to education and resources for women to succeed. I come from an under-resourced background, my parents are immigrants from Honduras, and I’m the first in my family to attend college. Many of my school colleagues are white and their parents went to college, and they know how to interact in class. Fort?’s programs allow me to level myself with my peers and boost my confidence. I don’t have a lot of women professors, and listening to women who are experienced in their fields during Fort?’s webinars, for example gives me a goal to live up to.

Why did you decide to attend the Women of Color Conference?
When I heard about it, a conference for women who want to be leaders, it was exactly what I was looking for. At larger conferences, I have felt swallowed up with topics that aren’t as relevant to me, and I don’t feel that minorities always have the chance to shine. At the Women of Color Conference, rather than being talked “at,” we were allowed to have a voice. Fort? also provided the financial support that made it possible for me to attend.

What sort of activities did the conference include?
We did interview workshops with professional women and other undergrads and got feedback to make sure our key points were clear. It was super helpful to gain interview skills – such as not telling recruiters what they want to hear, but instead expressing your authentic self and focusing on what sets you apart.