PALS Student Profile: Carlos Barrezueta '03

PALS Student Profile: Carlos Barrezueta '03

Carlos Barrezueta '03

By Sharon Goldman   

As an Ecuadorian immigrant who came to New York City with his family as a child, Carlos Barrezueta did not have the luxury of focusing solely on his own education. Instead, like many immigrant children, he had to help his parents navigate a confusing new world. “They were constantly worrying about things at home,” he says. “I had to help them fill out papers in English and had to be engaged in helping my brothers and sisters go to school.”
 
That did not stop him from pursuing a successful future, however. One year after his high school graduation, a mentor helped Barrezueta maneuver through the School of General Studies application since he was “clueless.”
 
After one semester at GS, he obtained a PALS scholarship, which helped him graduate as the School’s valedictorian with very little debt. “I enjoyed college much more because of PALS,” he says. “It was an extraordinary part of my success.” The support of Paola Scarpellini Crotts, Scott Halvorson, and the other deans was so important, he adds: “They were fantastic to my family, and they were really more mentors than deans.”
 
Today, the 25-year-old is also a Yale Law School alumnus who received his J.D. last June. “I think it has an extra meaning for my parents. They are incredibly happy,” Barrezueta says. “We both can’t believe it. I was recently talking to them about these seven years going by, they have a great sense of accomplishment.”

While studying at Yale, Barrezueta also worked in London, conducted research in Madrid, explored complex issues related to community development and banking, and worked in environmental protection. Currently an associate in a New York City law firm, Barrezueta says he will never forget what he has been given. “I really still feel that I have a great debt to pay to society and the many people around me that need help. And now I have the ability with my experience and degree.”