Elvia Rojas, a junior at Berea College double-majoring in political science and Spanish, is a dynamic, motivated, and effective student leader and undergraduate scholar who uses her skills and knowledge to empower and engage those around her in proactive social change work. A Bonner Scholar, Elvia works in the Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) as a team member and future student program manager. Elvia has focused much of her academic, work-study, and extracurricular energy on a common theme: empowering Latinx students, young people, and families. She has thoughtfully combined learning and community engagement experiences, leadership roles, and the study of political science and the Spanish language to embody a commitment to learn about multiple strategies for educational access and to use education to raise awareness, build bridges of communication, and empower people.
I am undocumented, unapologetic, and unafraid. As someone who has encountered educational obstacles in the past due to my status and lack of knowledge of the English language, I believe it is important to serve as an advocate for students with similar backgrounds to ensure they are given the same educational opportunities. Sixteen years ago, my family and I moved from Mexico to the U.S. in hopes to build a better future for ourselves. At the time, I was too young to understand why my status was such a problem. I owe my accomplishments and my career path to my family, especially my mother. Her story is my motivation for the work I continue to do on campus. In my labor position with the Hispanic Outreach Program, I work towards providing resources for our local Hispanic/Latinx community. With our campus organization Fighting for Equal Education, I, along with others, work towards raising awareness for our undocumented community and their unequal access to higher education. Thanks to these organizations, I have found the courage to continue advocating for my community and myself.