“When I joined the Honors College, I realized I was the only Hispanic-American Student,” she said. “I established the Hispanic-American Club hoping to elevate Hispanics by promoting the opportunities at MGCCC, to provide an environment for the expression of Hispanic culture and enhance leadership skills among Hispanic-American students. Currently, we are a very small club, so if you know anyone who would be interested in joining, please invite them!”
Barberena has also made a mark in the community, becoming the first female in Mississippi to become an Eagle Scout. She received a Mayoral and Mississippi Senate Proclamation to honor her accomplishment. She was also named VFW Scout of the Year, the United Way Community Game Changer Award, and the Hispanic-American Excellence Award.
“Since I was young, my brothers participated in scouting, and I would always attend their meetings wishing I could be a scout myself. I tried out other scouting programs for girls, but the opportunity for adventure was never adequate. In 2019, girls were let into Boy Scouts and I immediately joined. By the time I was able to join I did not have much time as a youth member, so I worked quickly to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. I was 17 years old when I became an Eagle Scout in November of 2020.”
An avid outdoor enthusiast, Barberena’s hobbies include hiking and paddle boarding. She loves sunsets and makes a point of seeing them as often as possible.
This summer, she was involved in a conservation internship with the Department of Conservation and the Scouts in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in New Mexico. “Our base was the Philmont Scout Ranch in the Northern New Mexican area. My crew’s goals were to work in the 2018 burn area. We helped the land recover from the damage by removing invasive species so that native plants could grow back. Additionally, we built a trail and performed maintenance on other existing trails. Other tasks included installing directional posts to help hikers find their way, maintaining and installing campsite areas, installing bear cables to prevent bear attacks, and other important tasks.”
Barberena is very proud of her big family. “We have a three-generational household,” she said. “My siblings and I are first generation Americans on my father’s side. I’m one of the middle children with an older brother who is 20, a younger brother who is 14, and finally my sister who is 5. Our household is always boisterous and busy. I love having so much family around me.”
She credits the college with helping her set and reach her goals.
“I am the first person in my family to attend MGCCC,” she said. “I decided to come here because I’ve always been involved with the community from a young age and community college is a great place to network within your community. It has helped me tremendously, especially being a member of PTK. I’d encourage anyone to attend MGCCC. It’s been an amazing and life-changing experience for me!”