Virginia Ruiz received the UConn Provost’s Award for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship in the Graduate Student category, for her service to the Latino community.
Virginia has contributed in a variety of ways to the School of Social Work and the external Latino community. She demonstrated her student leadership ability by serving as chair of the Latin American Student Organization (LASO) where she served as a strong and effective advocate, identifying the needs of Latino students, influencing policies affecting them, and serving as a link between the school and the Latino community. In addition, Virginia served as a student advocate in the Educational Review Committee, a faculty committee that meets with students experiencing academic and/or field internship difficulties.
Virginia’s second year internship was in the UConn SSW Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project (PRSLP) where she led and facilitated a number of projects, including the researching and drafting of a Hartford Foundation grant proposal for a PRLSP community leadership mentoring program; coordinating PRLSP Advisory Board events; and facilitating a collaboration with CT Latino Legislators, the Nancy Humphrey’s Institute for Political Social Work and PRLSP to analyze and craft legislative policy designed to develop state wide public school standards that address the disproportionate arrests and expulsion of ethnic and racial minority students.
As a result of Virginia’s student leadership record, long-standing Latino community participation, reputation and activism, she was hired as the 2014 Coordinator for the Summer Exchange Program between the School of Social Work School and the University of Puerto Rico School of Social Work. As the Program Coordinator, Virginia developed and coordinated a 7 day, educational program that consisted of twelve educational workshops and ten visits to agencies and focused on policy, practice and community issues affecting Connecticut Latino communities.
Virginia is richly deserving of this honor!