Patricio Ruano first became committed to addressing issues faced by first-generation college students during his first year at California State University Channel Islands. As a first generation student, he was not encouraged to dream of an education beyond high school and felt unprepared for college. He believed that he was not meant for school. He came to understand how societal systems can work together to create cycles of poverty and make it incredibly difficult for individuals from marginalized communities to gain access to higher education. And so, Patricio seeks to create long-term change in the lives of youth, by sharing his story with high school students who are children of farmworkers, by creating lesson plans that focus on STEM activities and social development. He has been able to use his feelings of inadequacy and past adversities to motivate, educate and promote self-efficacy to others from similar backgrounds. By using his personal history and experience of the higher education system as assets, Patricio is dedicated to creating equitable systems of access to higher education through mentoring to those in his community.
Mentoring played a vital role in my life, beginning with Dr. Neil Chawla, a physician who saw something special in me despite my low grades in high school. Dr. Chawla pushed me despite my low grades to excel in university. With his guidance, I currently do just that. Arriving at CSUCI, I wanted to pay it forward by mentoring someone who needs extra or affirmation that they can reach their dreams too. I mentor and teach first-generation high school students as my job, supporting them to reach their goals while also pushing the importance of maintaining mental and physical health. I am a secretary for the Queer Student Alliance on campus hoping to act as a safe person to ask for help. I am also looking to start a chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon at CSUCI in the hopes of reaching as many people with the same dream as mine who only need a little push to reach it.