Photo courtesy of Chelina Ortiz
Chelina Ortiz serves as a RA in the residence hall of Woodland Glen 3 at the University of Kentucky. Through this leadership position, Ortiz assists first-year students with finding their place on UK’s campus and helps them feel at home in the residence hall.
Originally from Querétaro, Mexico, Ortiz knows the struggles of belonging on campus since she is an international student. Ortiz said when she first arrived on UK’s campus, she identified mainly as an international student since she didn’t know much about Kentucky’s culture and traditions. Overtime, Ortiz learned how to embrace being international and saw that it was a positive aspect about her.
“I had to figure out what it meant to be international which meant that I had something different and unique about me that I got to share with others,” Ortiz said.
In addition to embracing her internationality, Ortiz explained that her RA served as her support system while she was adjusting to her new Kentucky life. Throughout her first year on campus, Ortiz said her RA inspired her to utilize her passion for leadership as well as use it to apply for the RA position.
“My RA was always so inspiring and caring, always asking me how my school was going and how I was feeling,” Ortiz said. “I knew I was meant to be that inspiration and support system for someone else.” Even though Ortiz is only a first-year RA, she has held a passion for leading ever since she was little. Ortiz found her passion for leading others during her younger years growing up in Mexico. As a young girl, Ortiz had a passion for the arts and drama, and she partook in many leading roles in her school’s plays for seven years.
“Drama and creativity were something that came from within me,” Ortiz said. “I’ve always been really dramatic and wanting to lead since I was a little girl.”
Along with her love of being a leader, Ortiz has a passion for computer science which she studies at UK through the College of Engineering. Ortiz found her infatuation with computer science after taking a computer course during her time in high school and finding that she had great skills at programming computers.
While in high school, Ortiz and her class took a field trip to Google’s headquarters and got a tour of the facility by one of the head computer programming employees. Ortiz said she was so blown away during her tour that she immediately knew she wanted to work there.
“At the end of the tour, the man asked if we had and any questions and I asked if he could hire me,” Ortiz said. “He told me to come back and ask again when I was closer to graduating college.”
Along with the RA position, Ortiz plans to find computer programming internships throughout her time at UK that will help her excel her computer skills. With the help of internships, Ortiz keeps her Google dream in the back of her mind every day until graduation.
“Google has been my dream ever since high school and I just have to keep moving forward to that,” Ortiz said. “I know it’s a long shot, but I just have to find the motivation and believe in myself enough to go after my dreams.”
Through her hard work and determination, Ortiz knows that she can make it to Google eventually, but until that day comes she will continue to enjoy her time at UK and carrying out her passion for leading others through her RA role. Ortiz said she has her former RA to thank for her success at UK and for inspiring her to chase her dreams.