Katie Ruiz Gonzalez: “Educators of Color Make a Difference”Julie McMorris | School of Education & Human Development Dec 14, 2023
Katie Ruiz Gonzalez, outstanding graduate in CU Denver’s undergraduate Teacher Education program, is highly committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion. During her time at CU Denver, she took on various student leadership roles, helped create new curriculum, demonstrated dedication to the social and academic well-being of the students she worked with during her field experiences, and even participated in a video ad for CU Denver.
“I feel very lucky to have been a part of the NxtGEN program, where I was able to obtain five semesters of practice as a teacher in the classroom,” Ruiz Gonzalez said. She has been in the North High School community for two and a half years as a paraeducator intern and teacher candidate. As a bilingual Latina, she is a powerful role model to every student she serves. “The first educator I had that looked like me was in college,” Ruiz Gonzalez said. “Educators of color make a difference. He inspired me to follow in his footsteps.”
During her time at North High School, Ruiz Gonzalez was a valuable contributor to a new ethnic studies 9th grade curriculum. The lessons she crafted as part of the curriculum have been recognized for excellence by university and school faculty and adopted across the North High School social studies department.
Ruiz Gonzalez’s undergraduate studies also included gaining new perspectives through studying abroad. “I hoped to learn more about different cultures and view the world in new ways by trying on different lenses. This was something I was able to experience when I studied abroad in Spain,” Ruiz Gonzalez said. During her time in Spain, she worked as an intern at a non-profit community-based youth center. The time interning in Spain was Ruiz Gonzalez’s favorite hands-on learning experience during her time at CU Denver.
Ruiz Gonzalez’s dedication to her students is evident through her desire to change systems that affect them, such as the rate of gun violence in school communities. During her studies, she worked tirelessly to advocate for students in every way possible. Because of that, she has decided to take a chance to refresh after graduation so she can be in the right headspace to continue to take on challenges that come from trying to promote change. “Working toward change in a system that is very traditional is unsurprisingly tiring,” she said. “After graduation, I am going on a trip to Thailand for a month in order to fuel myself and take care of myself before entering this profession.”
Congratulations to Katie for all that she has accomplished during her time at CU Denver! It is clear she will leave an indelible mark on education in the future.