Liliana came to Gallatin as a Gates Millennium Scholar. While at Gallatin, she was also the recipient of a Morris K. Udall Scholarship, a national fellowship awarded to students who are pursuing careers in the environment. She studied for a semester at NYU’s site in Ghana, an experience that informed her concentration, Complexity and Sustainability. She has also studied sustainability in terms of water, and she was one of the founders of the statewide student action group, Students Against Hydrofracking.
In 2011, she was one of forty students chosen to be a Student Freedom Rider, joining the original Freedom Riders in retracing the original route of hundreds of black and white Americans across the South in violation of 1961 Jim Crow laws. The event, organized by the PBS series American Experience, marked the 50th anniversary of the historic journeys. The Freedom Rides, she says, taught her a lot about activism. “It’s difficult to conceptualize what non-violence looks like in today’s world,” she says. “But it’s not just a tactic, it’s a philosophy of life. It’s about love and compassion."
After graduation, Liliana worked for Amity Foundation Circle Tree Ranch in Tucson in order to start a Center for Social Entrepreneurship with two NYU professors. Amity is a therapeutic community dedicated to the rehabilitation of people marginalized by addictions, trauma, homelessness, poverty, racism, and violence. Liliana then traveled to South America with funding from a Gallatin Horn Family Environmental Studies grant to make a film about sustainable practices relating to the rainforests in Peru, Bolivia, and Uruguay.