Undergrad: University of Connecticut
Hometown: Vernon, CT
Assistantship: Office for Diversity and Inclusion
Bio: Hello, I’m Kiara Ruesta. I was born and raised in Lima, Peru and currently live in Vernon, CT. I started my undergrad career at Manchester Community College, where I was taking courses to fulfill my general education requirements before I headed to UConn to finish my studies. At the time, my goal was to become a pediatrician since the medical field had always interested me.
Throughout my educational journey, I have faced many institutional barriers due to the different social identities that play a role in my education. After searching for support on campus, I joined UConn Connects and was able to meet a mentor who took the time to listen to my story and help me through a difficult time in my life. She acted as my sounding board and allowed me to reorganize my thoughts. Through this period of self-discovery, I decided that I wanted to help empower students, like myself, who felt alone and underrepresented in their educational journey. This decision is what motivated me to rejoin Connecticut Students for a Dream as a UndocuPeer trainer, join the CLAS Student Leadership Board, and become a UConn Connects peer-mentor. These experiences encouraged me to pursue a career in Higher Education and apply to UConn’s HESA program. I’m so excited to be part of this program and to start to develop my professional career while still holding social justice close to my heart. I want to help build a higher education system that encourages every student, regardless of their social identity, to reach for their dreams and build a sense of community.