Meet Our Summer Associates: Lucia Rios
Lucia Rios currently attends Williams College and is a member of the class of 2024. A 2020 graduate of Leadership Public Schools, Lucia is majoring in American Studies with a Latina/o Studies concentration at Williams.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything in particular that motivates you as you go through college and prepare yourself for a career?
A: My name is Lucia Rios and I have lived in Richmond my whole life up until I moved across the country for college. I am now a rising senior at Williams College, planning to graduate with a B.A. in American Studies and a minor in Latina/o Studies. On campus, I am on the board of Vista, our Latinx Student Organization, and the Chair of our performance of Ritmo, our Afro-Latinx/Latinx dance team. I spend a lot of my time with these two organizations to continue building up the connections with our small community on campus. Though the community is small, the support I feel from my friends and peers on campus has been something that I find myself turning to for motivation continuously throughout my time at Williams. Going to school so far from home makes it difficult to keep connections to my home community. But, knowing that I have my family and friends supporting me despite the distance, motivates me to push through college when it becomes difficult.
Q: How has Richmond Promise played a role in your education?
A: Richmond Promise has helped me alleviate some worry about expenses that I would otherwise struggle with had I not received this scholarship. With the help of their funds, I have been able to buy books for my classes, class supplies, and other miscellaneous expenses that come up throughout the semester. It has also helped in that the scholarship itself and the connections it creates is already a marker of community and support that I know I can have access to if I ever need it. Now, with the opportunity to work as a Summer Associate, I am able to gain more experience as a mentor, something that will help me in my future career as an educator. This summer internship has been one of the beginning steps in the direction that I hope to take my professional career post-grad.
Q: Why did you choose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate and what are you hoping to take from the experience?
A: I wanted to become a Richmond Promise Summer Associate because I wanted to help support the incoming college freshman class in their transition from high school to college. I remember really benefiting from this support when I was in their position and wanted to help other students have the same support. I also have helped in other mentoring programs both in high school and college, and this position will help gain more experience and confidence in that realm.
Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond and/or the world?
A: I plan to return to Richmond post-grad and work as an educator. I hope to provide the support and encouragement that students from Richmond deserve in order to confidently pursue their educational career. I hope to also provide my students the ethnic studies perspective that I didn’t have access to as a high school student because as members of Richmond and the diverse background it holds, we deserve to know the history of our communities, both inside and outside of Richmond.
Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?
A: My college experience started off rocky because my first semester was in the fall of 2020. Because of the pandemic, none of my years at college have been the same. The rules have changed drastically each year and each year I have to become accustomed to a new environment. Attending an institution like Williams as a first-gen Latina from a low-income background presents its challenges. I have had to navigate the college on my own, find the resources available, and put in extra work to create safe spaces that the college doesn’t bother to provide institutionally. Through these safe spaces and experiences, I have been able to find a community on campus. These communities such as Latinx organizations and first-gen support have given me the support I needed to make my experiences at Williams the best they could be. Through these communities I have learned to take advantage of what the college has to offer such as financial support, alumni connections, and amazing faculty and professors.
Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?
A: After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I hope to continue my education in graduate school. I want to continue my learning in the field of Education and American Studies. With this I hope to become an educator at either the high school or college level. I am looking forward to applying my studies to real life in order to support my community in hopes of providing students with an ethnic studies perspective to their learning as well as leveling the playing field in education to ensure everyone has access to a well rounded education, especially those who have been historically disadvantaged.