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College of Arts and Sciences

Elijah Ruiz: 'I have a stronger sense of who I am, and who I want to be'

May 10, 2019

Elijah Ruiz


Chicago, IL

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Latinos in the U.S. taught by Prof. Vélez. It was inspiring and comforting to hear stories of many Latinx cultures and see so many Latinx students in the classroom. I learned a lot about my Puerto Rican heritage, and am honored to know that I am a continuation of the legacy of Puerto Ricans coming to Cornell for their undergrad education.

What is your main extracurricular activity--why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity was being a part of MEChA de Cornell. It was through MEChA that I found my first friend group on campus. Not only that, but MEChA allowed me to explore parts of my heritage that I had not before, as well as make amazing memories with other members through workshops, activities, and events we organized. One of my most favorite memories was hosting the open mic we curated--Raíces y Recuerdos--and seeing not only the Cornell community but the Ithaca community come together to experience and perform art. It was beautiful.

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of, either inside the classroom or otherwise?

I have a stronger sense of who I am and who I want to be. When I first arrived at Cornell, it was the first time that I was away from my home, Chicago, and everyone I knew in the city. By being in a new environment, I had to re-evaluate the person I was since I was without any familiar context. I also had to figure out what I wanted to do after I graduated school--something that seemed far off in the future. I now know that I want to do research that can influence public policy, especially for inner-city neighborhoods, and that I want to be a person that actively engages with, and changes, the world.