Carolina De Menezes

Career Pathway Program Manager, Engineering & Green Technology, Hartford Public High School

Carolina joined ReadyCT as an intern in May 2020 when, despite significant COVID-19 barriers, the career pathways team was determined to provide summer internships and other work-based learning experiences to students. She became a full-time ReadyCT team member shortly after graduating from UConn in May 2021. 

Carolina is a proud first-generation college student, and she brings to her work the knowledge she gained having to navigate the college admissions process on her own. She also has a unique lived experience: the significant transition from college student to workforce member during a pandemic. She uses these and other experiences to inform her role in working with youth.

At UConn, Carolina worked with Jumpstart, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing early childhood education. There, she first worked teaching language, literacy, and social emotional skills to preschoolers, and then moved up to student coordinator where she assisted with program oversight, providing all student volunteers with training and ongoing support to ensure high-quality programming. Now at ReadyCT, Carolina is excited to have the opportunity to close Connecticut’s achievement gap with work-based learning programming. 

Carolina holds a B.A. in human development and family sciences from the University of Connecticut.

My background and childhood experiences really motivate me to work with youth. I grew up in a home where we spoke Spanish and Portuguese and my parents were both blue collar workers. I watched them work hard to be able to provide my brother and me with opportunities to succeed. Despite this, it was difficult at times since my parents lacked English language skills and experience in this country. As the oldest child, I routinely took on the responsibility of speaking for my parents and my brother. I often had to figure things out on my own, like how to read tax forms so I could fill out my FAFSA. These experiences, as well as my time in both public and private school, have made me passionate about providing high-quality education for all public school students regardless of their background or zip code. I want to provide guidance to students and help expose them to the endless opportunities out there.