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CHCI – Secondary Education Graduate Fellow

Hometown: Everett, Washington

School: University of Texas at Austin

Degrees: M.A. Mexican American Studies

Placement 1: National Council for Community and Education Partnerships

Placement 2: Office of Rep. Suzan DelBene

Griselda Guevara-Cruz was born in Portland, Oregon to parents from La Mixteca region in Oaxaca, México. The daughter of two monolingual indigenous immigrant parents, Griselda is a first-generation U.S. citizen, and a first-generation formal education attendee. Griselda attended Whitman College, where she obtained her B.A. in Spanish with Honors, with double minors in education and sociology (2011). She earned her M.A. in Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin (2015).

While attending Whitman College, Griselda worked as an America Reads/America Counts Tutor in local elementary schools. She also served on the Walla Walla County Juvenile Justice Center’s Community Accountability Board (Juvenile Diversion Program). These experiences shaped her passion and commitment to educational services for underrepresented youth. Griselda is an AmeriCorps alumna, having served as a College and Career Coach in the Greater Seattle Area through the College Success Foundation. She was tasked with creating a college-going culture for underrepresented low-income, first-generation, middle school students by implementing college prep curriculum and expanding on access to college-readiness resources.

At UT, Griselda served as the Mexican American and Latina/o Studies Department graduate student representative on the College of Liberal Arts Teaching Assistant Task Force. She was also engaged in Cultura en Acción, an after school program in low-income and bilingual elementary schools that promoted the importance of academics, self, and community empowerment, while cultivating leadership skills. After graduating from UT, Griselda returned to her home state and continued working in her community as an instructional assistant at her former middle school. She also continued mentoring young people in her community with college navigation.

As a CHCI Secondary Education Graduate Fellow, Griselda seeks to expand her understanding of policy making and the legislative process pertaining to K-12 education at the federal level in order to work effectively for youth and families in her home state and beyond. Causes deeply important to Griselda include: narrowing the opportunity gap and fostering comprehensive work for college awareness and preparedness for underrepresented youth in settings prior to high school. She is passionate about contributing her time and effort towards diminishing inter-generational poverty, mentoring young people, and engaging her community to become civically engaged.