Korina Barry2018 Rising Alumni

Korina Barry

Korina Barry has spent the better half of her life advocating for children and families. She started her career as a youth worker supporting youth in foster care. This work encouraged her to return to school at the U of M where she earned a master of social work and began her direct practice career in child welfare. Today, she is the director of outreach at the U’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW “cashew”). Korina works on public policy, develops training, manages communications, and sustains relationships with various stakeholders in the child welfare field across Minnesota. Korina has a deep commitment to give back to the Native community. She is a cofounder of KWESTRONG Indigenous Women’s Wellness, a grassroots movement building empowerment through health activities. Korina is Anishinaabe from Gaa-zaagaskwaajimekaag (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe).


Director of Outreach,
Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, University of Minnesota

CEHD Degree

BA Child Psychology and American Indian Studies with an emphasis in Ojibwe language, 2009
MSW with a focus in Child Welfare, 2011

Please list any professional accomplishments you wish to mention.

I ran for public office (state representative) in 2018. I was honored and humbled to have the support of my amazing campaign team and community members. I look forward supporting ongoing efforts to break down the barriers that prevent communities or color and indigenous communities from participating in the political process and that keep POCI from running for and holding office.

Please list any past or current volunteer activities.


  • Family Court Enhancement Project (FCEP) Subcommittee 4, Member, 2017-Present.
  • State Guardian Ad Litem Board, Vice Chair, 2016-Present.
  • Division of Indian Work, Board Member, 2015- Present
  • Previous

  • KWESTRONG Indigenous Women’s Wellness, Co-Founder and Organizer, 2012-2017.
  • Social Work Equity Workgroup, Children’s Hospital, Member, 2016-2017.
  • American Indian Community Liaison Advisory Board, Children’s Hospital, Member, 2016-2017.
  • Women of Nations, Board Member, 2014-2017.
  • Boys and Girls Club, Youth Mentor, 2015-2016.
  • Twin Cities Alumnae Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma, Co-Founder and Member, 2010-2017.

Please list any awards or honors from your collegiate, professional, or volunteer experiences.

  • 2015 Honoring American Indian Women Award, American Indian Student Cultural Center, University of Minnesota.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in CEHD?

Many of the courses in my master of social work program allowed me to connect my personal experiences and experience as a youth worker supporting homeless youth at the time of my program, with class assignments and classroom discussions. Classes like "Treatment of Trauma" and "Child Welfare and the Law" were very impactful in helping me understand the unique needs of individuals I was supporting, but also how to be a strong advocate on a systems and policy level.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

My educational experience in CHED offered me a quality education, mentorship, friendships, and professional opportunities. I am very proud to be a social worker and to be a CEHD and School of Social Work alum.

Outside of your job, how do you grow professionally?

I stay grounded in community. Being active in community greatly contributes to the energy and lens that I bring to my work.

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

I will forever remember the day I graduated from the University of Minnesota with my bachelor’s degree. My father and and many other relatives rallied to cheer me on that day. Through all of the challenging life experiences and being a first-generation college student, this was an unforgettable moment for me.

Who has inspired you the most during your career?

I have been most inspired by the mothers and elders of my community. I have been fortunate to work for and with amazing women all of my life. These women have shared teachings and life lessons that have impacted my life greatly.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

I think strong connections to community are imperative, whether that be your personal community or professional community. Working in the field of social work I greatly understand the importance of self-care and strong support networks. I believe both of these are essential for emerging professionals of any field.

What are your hobbies?

I love podcasts. I enjoy most outdoors activities, including hiking, cycling, running, canoeing, and archery!

How do others describe you?

Compassionate, dedicated, resilient.

How do you describe yourself?

Passionate, caring, insightful.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

What gets you excited about work?

As a social worker and Director of Outreach, I love meeting new people and learning from their stories. I enjoy developing relationships and partnerships across the state.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I liked to play imaginary teacher. I would set up stuffed animals and dolls and pretend they were students that I was teaching.

What is a "fun fact" about you?

I was born with a tooth. It fell out right away, but my family called me "fang" for a while.