Carolina Ruíz

Carolina Ruíz BA '21



Degree and Class Year

BA ’22


Grants Pass, Oregon


Hispanic Studies


Gente Latina Unida (GLU), Admissions Overnight Host, International Fair, Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement (IME), Gender Studies Symposium, Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Challenging, Open, Thoughtful

What’s your favorite class? How has it expanded your knowledge?

My all-time favorite class was The Art of Solidarity, an Exploration and Discovery course, taught by Magalí Rabasa. This class opened up my mind to many more perspectives and ideas. At first, I was a little nervous because any mention of art is daunting due to my very amateur, stick figure artistic capabilities. However, the practice of standing in solidarity with different groups of people and using art as an expression of unity is what this class was really about! Social movements, progression, and unity is what I hope for in this world, and I had a little taste of that in this class.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

My sister, Xóchitl Esparza BA ’97, actually attended Lewis & Clark and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in international affairs. This school opened up so many opportunities for her and I know Lewis & Clark can do the same for me. I don’t know exactly where I am going, but I know that I’m on the right path!

Have you been involved with one of our symposia, as an organizer or participant? What was the experience like? How did the event complement your academic experience?

This is my first time participating in leadership for a symposium as a cochair for the 2022 Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies (Art of Storytelling). I was involved in the community meetings for the 2018 Gender Studies Symposium (inSecurity). Because of my sister and her positive experience with Ray Warren, I felt even more drawn to the Ray Warren Symposium in its ability to build community and center scholarship focused on race and ethnicity.

This experience has definitely built my program management skills in understanding the moving parts to the symposium. Whether it be through my position as a volunteer coordinator, or the work of social media, emails, and managing a budget, I’ve enjoyed the exposure to this workflow.

If you have studied or will study overseas while at Lewis & Clark, how did you choose your program? What did your overseas study add to your L&C experience so far?

I will be studying in either Valparaíso, Chile, or Alicante, Spain. I am a double major in Hispanic studies and sociology and anthropology, so studying abroad is a must! I have always dreamt of going to Chile because my sister studied abroad there, but I would also love to go to Spain and various countries in Europe! I can’t decide!

Congrats on winning the Emerging Leader Award at the IME Banquet! Describe your involvement with IME and what winning the award means to you.

I truly did not expect to win this award and I could not have been more grateful. I knew once I stepped foot on campus I wanted to get involved, make an impact, and do something good for this school! This award meant that I am doing exactly what I should and want to be doing. The Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement at Lewis & Clark has created a home for me. During times of self-doubt, discomfort, and confusion, I knew I could go to IME for the safe space I needed. I attended their Rest and Relaxation sessions, was part of the first Lewis & Clark delegation that went to the Oregon Students of Color Conference, and have been part of the LEAP program as a mentee. Next year I will be a mentor for the incoming class of 2022! It has only been one year and there is so much more to do, learn, and change! This award is an expression of my growth. Thank you, IME.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Do not be afraid to ask for help or reach out! There’s bound to be struggle in the first year of college because it is a huge transition. Remember that you are not alone! Sophomores, juniors, and seniors have all been through the first year struggle in one way or another. We got you.

What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?

My favorite thing about living in Portland is how accessible everything is. There’s always something new to discover. My friends and I are always on the MAX because it will literally take you everywhere.

How do you manage stress?

I manage stress by grounding myself. A phone call to my mom and brother usually helps me. They know what words to say when I feel like school is getting too hard! Phoning home serves as a reminder for my purpose, passion, and love for learning. They are the ones that keep me going.

Hispanic Studies Symposia