University:California State University, Long Beach
Organization:Hispanic Scholarship Fund
Position:Manager, Grants and Compliance
Elizabeth Ramirez was born in Santa Clara, California, and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico, before her family returned to California. She points to her parents’ strength, hard work, and determination to provide a better future for her, her brother, as a prime source of motivation. Following their example ultimately led her to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where she majored in study Economics.
She says that being a first-generation student, she found “navigating the higher education system, difficult.” But she persevered and distinguished herself, receiving an HSF Scholarship. She was also awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the US Department of State, which enabled her to study abroad in Florence, Italy. She notes that this experience added a new dimension to her perspective on her chosen field of study.
“When I returned home, I had a better understanding of my place in the world. I knew then, I wanted to become a contributor rather than a spectator to the international community, so I pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with an emphasis in International Economics.”
After graduating, she served as the Study Abroad Ambassador for the San Mateo County Community College District. She says she found it particularly rewarding to help students do what she had been able to do—apply for US Department of State grants, to fund their studies abroad. She subsequently became a Grants Intern for Long Beach Transit, where she supported the grants department in reporting and managing local, state, and federal awards.
Today, she serves as a Manager in Grants and Compliance, at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In that role, she helps steward the partnerships HSF has with various grant-making organizations. Her work encompasses the completion of grants, proposals, and compliance reports, as well as data management in support of the Operations Department and HSF’s overall mission and vision.
Elizabeth explains that the chance to pay it forward is part of what drew her to HSF. “I was a benefactor of HSF’s mission to empower Latino students with the knowledge and resources to complete a higher education; I therefore wanted to be part of the team that supports the generations to come.”
Her advice to students who are pursuing a higher education, is to become their own, best champions, and to push through any challenges that may arise.
“College can be intimidating and at times you may question the journey. In those moments, I advise you to turn to your fellow classmates, join community and cultural clubs, and overall, take advantage of the resources available to you. Do not let obstacles and doubts stop you from accessing the instrument that will change your future.”