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Josselin Ruiz ’23: First-Generation Student Recognized for Outstanding Academic Performance

Georgian Court University 2023 graduating student Josselin Ruiz

Josselin Ruiz of Lakewood, N.J., is a stellar example of following your dreams and never giving up. As a first-generation college student, Ruiz faced some struggles since no one in her family was able to offer advice or help her anticipate what college was going to be like. It was a challenge at first, but that didn’t stop her from showing up and exceeding the expectations of her professors at GCU.

As an Early Childhood Education and Spanish Major, Ruiz loves working with young children and has experience working in schools and childcare centers. “I chose to major in Spanish because I wanted to improve my native language to better assist my community and the students that I will be teaching,” said Ruiz.

One of the things Ruiz learned about education is that teaching is not for everyone, but it is for her, and the people she encountered were 100% invested in becoming the best teachers. “I learned the true importance that teaching brings to the world,” said Ruiz. “I value the education that GCU has given me,  and I have learned to become a confident educator.”

GCU not only prepared Ruiz to become a teacher who will change the lives of people with different backgrounds, but her journey helped her grow as a person by providing her with the support she needed to succeed. “My professors were dedicated to helping me and always available to meet with me,” said Ruiz.  “GCU makes you feel valued and will focus on delivering the best education to you.”

Ruiz enjoyed being a part of the campus community, serving as a member of “UnidosUS,” a nonprofit organization that advocates for the Latino community, and as vice president of the Education Club at GCU. 

Her scholastic accomplishments landed Ruiz the Lambda Chapter Early Educator Award. Further, she was an active member and served as vice president of the Education Club at GCU, and was awarded several scholarships including the Pedro Canabal Scholarship, the Anne White Mullane Scholarship, the Maryann Greco Zarrelli Scholarship, and the Rose M. Ortiz Lopez Scholarship.

As for her future plans, she plans to keep applying for early childhood teaching positions for the upcoming academic year in hopes to make a decision after graduation.
“I sincerely recommend anyone that is considering going to GCU to make the decision to pick GCU,” said Ruiz. “It’s been an honor to be a part of such a wonderful community and I thank all my professors along my college journey that have helped me become the teacher I am now.”

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.