UC Riverside grad student nominated as systemwide student regent

Marcela Ramirez is thought to be the first openly gay woman nominated to become a UC student regent

A 35-year-old at UC Riverside who is working on a doctoral degree in higher education administration has been nominated to become the next student representative on the governing board of the 10-campus UC system, officials announced Tuesday.

Marcela Ramirez said she sought the student regent position to help address campus issues of diversity, access and cultural sensitivity. Ramirez, who is a lesbian and the daughter of immigrants from Mexico, said, that “every student should feel valued and included.” UC officials said she is thought to be the first openly gay woman to be nominated for the position.

Ramirez has worked in student affairs offices at several colleges while pursuing her education and said that she would bring to the regents board insights about the economic hardships many students face.

If the full UC regents board next month approves the nominating committee’s recommendation, Ramirez will serve as the student regent-designate for the coming year and will be able to join in board discussions. She will not have voting privileges until her one-year term as a full student regent begins in July 2016.

The voting student regent for 2015-16 is Abraham "Avi" Oved, a UCLA undergraduate in economics who is minoring in global studies.

Ramirez grew up in Pomona and earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and French from Cal State Fullerton and a master’s in counseling from Cal State Long Beach. She said she will be working on her doctoral dissertation at UC Riverside for the next two years and then she wants to pursue a career in college administration or teaching.

The student regent position is “the best internship” for understanding how higher education administration works, she said.

Ramirez has served as the graduate student representative on the UC Office of the President LGBT Advisory Committee and previously served on a UC Riverside task force to help undocumented students.

If approved, Ramirez will become the 42nd student regent since the position was established in 1975, according to a regents' announcement.

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