Senior Citlaly Ramirez first arrived at Western as a nervous freshman. Sad, homesick and without family for the first time, she was unsure of how to navigate her new life as a college student.
However, as time went on she made friends and built a support system. She knew that she wanted to prepare for the workforce, so she started to build her resume.
Ramirez is now a student ambassador and Western’s 21st Student Trustee. She was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to serve on the board from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
“A year ago I had no idea what a trustee was,” Ramirez said. “I feel like a lot of people don’t, but as I became more educated about the position, I realized that it was a great fit for me.”
A student trustee is a member of the Board of Trustees, a governing board for regional public universities. It consists of eight members and is responsible for providing policy direction and guidance as well as representing student and faculty interest, according to the Washington State Legislature.
As a student, Ramirez said she brings unique and valuable experience to board meetings and strives to represent student perspectives by questioning what she thinks will benefit students as a whole.
“I know that they [first-generation students] have these challenges and I really wanted to do something to help,” she said. “We have a diverse campus and everyone has diverse needs that need to be addressed.”
When she isn’t dealing with trustee duties, Ramirez is working towards earning her bachelor’s degree in management information systems, with minors in marketing and theatre.
She originally came to Western to pursue her love of technology with a computer science major.
While she loved computer science, Ramirez eventually discovered that she had a passion for business as well. Unsure of how to proceed, she talked to her mentor who introduced her to the management information systems major which blended her interests in technology and business.
Ramirez said she hopes that her diverse areas of study will make her a well-rounded student and future worker.
Ramirez credits a lot of her success to the support of her mentors. One of said mentors, Director of Community Relations Chris Roselli described Ramirez as an extremely driven and passionate leader.
“I’m certainly not surprised she was selected to represent this great university as a student leader,” Roselli said. “If the door to opportunity cracks even a little bit, Citlaly kicks it open with her unfettered passion and drive.”
While she has no definitive plans for after graduation, Ramirez hopes to use her degree to find a fulfilling, successful career.
“I’m looking at some companies, I am particularly interested in Microsoft,” she said. “I actually have an interview with them so we’ll see what happens. Even if it doesn’t work out, I’ll just have to trust the process.”
Ramirez said the idea that everything happens for a reason is largely what keeps her going. Whatever happens is supposed to happen and just because things don’t go as planned, it doesn’t mean we should give up, she said.
Regardless of what career may lie ahead for her, Ramirez said that she wants to move back home to the Seattle-Tacoma area to be closer to family, who are a big part of her life and success so far.
Despite her busy schedule, Ramirez said that loved ones always come first. She tries to dedicate at least one day a week to spending time with someone she’s close with.
“If I’m busy seven days a week, that’s really not good for me or the people I love, it’s important to balance that,” she said.
When she is feeling burnt out, Ramirez loves to hike with friends, focus on the scenery and remind herself of all the things she is grateful for.
“If you know Citlaly, you know that she’s simply a wonderful human being. You want to be around her. You want to work with her. You want to help her succeed. You want to be a part of whatever it is that she’s a part of,” Roselli said.
Ramirez encouraged other Western students to get out of their comfort zones and take advantage of all of the resources and leadership opportunities Western has to offer.
“I think it all starts being grateful for what you have and realizing why certain things happen to certain people,” she said. “When I was younger I would ask ‘Why me?’ and now I just ask ‘Why not me?’”