Jan. 26, 2022
Karen Torres

Name: Karen Abril Torres (she/her/ella) 

Majors: Physiology, and Political Science: Law and Public Policy

Minor: Spanish

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Tucson

Clubs/Organizations: I am involved in El Rio Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) and Colibri Center for Human Rights.

Leisure Pursuits: I enjoy plants, going to get coffee and tea, crocheting, and thrifting!

Research Projects: I'm in a research lab with the Center of Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism (CDDOM) here at the University of Arizona. For my Honors Thesis, I am looking for ways to improve quality and access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for Young People with Disabilities.

Plans after graduation: 

I am planning on continuing my work with El Rio RHAP projects that include creating a provider curriculum on Medical Ableism and creating a training certification program for other young people who are interested in reproductive and sexual health. Afterward, I plan on going to medical school, studying to be an OBGYN, and continuing my advocacy for reproductive rights and migrant rights.


What has been your favorite Honors course or experience that you have been involved with?

My favorite honors course has been Law and Social Change. This class dove deeply into systemic issues in our society and the way our laws carry biases. I highly recommend this course for people who are looking to better understand systemic issues and how they've played a role in all of our lives.

What is something you have done during your time at the University of Arizona of which you are especially proud?

I am mainly really proud of the thesis I am working on! Increasing access to reproductive healthcare is something I am very passionate about. Especially for people who experience greater barriers to accessing care like young people, people with disabilities, BIPOC, the LGBTQ+ community, etc. It's been powerful to stand alongside my peers to advocate for rights to our bodies.

What message do you have for other Honors students on finding their own success?

It’s okay to relax – and I don’t mean relaxing with the intention of performing better in school. Truly putting in time for yourself and your interests is so important. It’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming life of being a student, a worker, a roommate, a sibling, an advocate, a parent, or any other role you have. So, be sure to take the time to do whatever you want without feeling guilty for being kind to yourself.


"Karen Torres has completed outstanding honors research in both Pol469 and Pol476. Her topic in Law and Social Change (Pol469) was making the difficult connection between women's reproductive rights and the social control of women's bodies that explains the limitations put upon women's right to agency and the control of their own bodies. Karen's conclusion of this research essay exemplified, in my opinion, the values put forward by the Honor's college: "Barring access to reproductive and sexual health services is a subset of a means to control a woman’s body. From forced sterilizations to decreasing access to abortions, the common link is not allowing women to have reproductive control which means not allowing any control over their lives. To combat this, we all must work on having honest conversations about how to overcome the issues the white supremacy and patriarchy have caused. Only then will we all be able to have reproductive justice and a place where all people can have autonomy over their bodies and their lives."

– Dr. Judith McDaniel, Professor, School of Government and Public Policy


To nominate a peer for the Franke Honors Student Spotlight, please click HERE and complete the submission form. All nominations are subject to Honors College faculty review, approval, and editing for publication.