Name: Claudia Ruiz 

Year: 2018

Major: Sociology

Mellon Mays Fellow

Claudia Ruiz '18 is one of Bryn Mawr's Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows, a program run by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to increase the diversity of faculty within higher education. Students apply for the program their sophomore year and each year five students are selected to be a part of the program. In addition to conducting research, Mellon Mays Fellows regularly meet with their cohort to exchange ideas and share research progress. Other activities include professional development workshops, cultural outings, and meetings with other MMUF campuses.

Each fellow pairs with a faculty mentor at the College to conduct research on a topic they are passionate about. Claudia works with Assistant Professor of Sociology Veronica Montes and focuses on financial literacy in the Latino community by examining college access programs, pre-college programs that prioritize increasing college readiness and/or college enrollment as a primary goal. For her research, Claudia interviewed students from her high school's college access program to examine how these programs educate students on the social, academic, and financial components of college.

Opportunities with Mellon: "The true opportunity is being able to study something you are passionate about, but one of my favorite memories was going to a sociology conference in New Mexico with my advisor. You get to hear all of the information people are producing at the conference while really getting to know your professor at a personal and meaningful level."

Working with a Mentor: "As a person of color and a first-generation college student, being able to have a professor mentor you in how to navigate this institution is very helpful. Specifically relating to Mellon, with my hopes of becoming a sociologist and obtaining my Ph.D., there is no way I could obtain all of this information without my mentor. My mentor helps me with everything from life to my thesis, so having a mentor is incredibly beneficial while working through college."

Combining STEM With Social Sciences: "The thing I love the most about sociology is the ability to ask questions and question the world around you. I incorporate a lot of math into my research and I think about numbers when talking about financial literacy. In the future, another project I would like to work on is how numbers and bilingualism work together."

On Bryn Mawr and a Women's College: "I chose to come to Bryn Mawr because I was offered to attend with a group of individuals from my hometown through the Posse Foundation. Now that I am a senior, one thing I have been able to reflect on is the opportunity Bryn Mawr has given me to identify more with my Latinidad and deconstruct and reconstruct what that identity means to me. The intimacy and support that exists at a women's college eliminates worries that may be present on a coed campus."

Plans for the Future: "I've applied for a research and teaching fellowship abroad, so I am hoping for that. I also will probably take a year off to refresh, then apply to graduate school immediately after so I can jump back into this world of academia."