In the News

Hometown Hero: Woman earns college degree while working during crisis

Washington, June 23, 2020

Hometown Hero: Woman earns college degree while working during crisis

By: Jill Harmacinski

LAWRENCE—- After every shift as a healthcare worker during COVID-19, Sabrina Paulino enters her Lawrence home through the basement and showers immediately before seeing her family. It's a necessary precaution. 

Through the pandemic, Paulino kept working as a patient service representative at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center and finished up her degree from Emmanuel College in Boston.  

The young Lawrence woman was recently recognized as a local hero by Congresswoman Lori Trahan, D-Westford, for her dedication to others and “for being a strong, empowering advocate for her community in Lawrence.” 


Trahan regularly recognizes local residents in her "Local Heroes Spotlight" initiative. 

Paulino, she said, "represents the promise and hope of her generation of leaders."

She noted she graduated from Emmanuel "in the midst of this pandemic" and also kept working at the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center "to make sure her community has access to the health services they need to weather this public health crisis."

"I’m grateful to Sabrina for her resilience, courage and commitment, and I look forward to seeing what her bright future has in store,” Trahan said. 

At the health center, Paulino checks in and assists patients and provides administrative services.

"As the number of COVID-19 cases in Lawrence spiked, she continued working despite one of her parents being especially vulnerable to the virus. After each shift, Sabrina had to enter her home through her basement and shower immediately before she could see her family," Trahan noted. 


Lawrence has some of the highest COVID-19 numbers in the state. 

As of Sunday night, there were 3,487 positive cases and 127 related deaths, according to the state's Department of Public Health. 

Paulino, through her work during the COVID-19 crisis, is now motivated to start a nursing career and "continue making a difference in her community and other communities of color," Trahan wrote in a statement. 

She graduated from Emmanuel with a major in Sociology and minor in Psychology.