Trojan trailblazer lays the bricks for children’s path to college

Photo of Kim Thomas-Barrios
Kim Thomas-Barrios speaks at the USC Leslie and William McMorrow Neighborhood Academic Initiative Annual Gala and Awards Ceremony at USC. (Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

Kim Thomas-Barrios’ career has been dedicated to helping students pursue a college education and achieve their dreams.

Kim Thomas-Barrios began her career as a high school teacher a little over a decade after the passage of Title IX. While some things for women improved soon after, such as changes to dress codes and the introduction of mixed physical education classes, other reforms were slow to take effect.

She vividly recalls being a first-year teacher and having to break into a male-dominated science department.

“They didn’t even talk to us,” Thomas-Barrios said of her bumpy start.

She was one of three new female teachers at her school in the San Fernando Valley; only two made it to the second year. “We were completely ignored, thrown into the lion’s den with no help. I was lucky because I had educators in my family to guide me,” said Thomas-Barrios, now USC’s associate senior vice president of educational partnerships.

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