I am Elena Ruiz, a junior at Eastern Connecticut State University. I was born in Hidalgo, Mexico and immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia when I was six years old. I am the first of my immediate family to attend college and I am incredibly fortunate to do so in Connecticut through the.dream.US Opportunity Scholarship. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend college in Georgia as it has some of the toughest anti-immigrant laws in the country. In this state, the immigrant youth is unable to apply for Federal or State financial aid, in addition to being denied acceptance from some of the most prestigious universities of the state, like University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Georgia State University. It is the Board of Regents who has made these decisions that make it impossible for the immigrant youth like myself have access to higher education. I am grateful for being part of the Student Advisory Committee and work close to the Board of Regents as I can be the change necessary for the immigrant youth in Connecticut. I hope to stay in Connecticut upon graduating college and become an asset to this state as Georgia was not willing to give me and many others a shot at success. I believe in equal opportunity for everyone regardless of color, race, ethnicity, social standing, and legal status. I believe the best measure of self-worth is integrity and advocacy for the things one feels are important.
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