TC_Ruth Cardenas
Alumni Chair, NLC Twin Cities

Ruth is passionate about social equity, student access, and success in higher education. Growing up as the daughter of two Mexican immigrant parents in a rural white community, Ruth often felt out of place and a yearning to belong. As a first-generation college student, she participated in TRIO Student Support Services and later the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. Both experiences were instrumental to her success in college and enrollment in graduate school. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Science in child, adult and family services from Iowa State University and a Master of Arts in human development and family studies from the University of Missouri. Ruth began her career in higher education at Bottom Line Inc. as a College Success Advisor in Brooklyn, New York. There, she worked and advocated for students who were first-generation college students or from low-income backgrounds. Ruth is a TRIO Student Support Services Academic Advisor at the University of Minnesota. In this role, she continues to work with students and advocate for social equity, student access, and higher education success. Since moving to the Twin Cities and participating in the institute as a 2020 fellow, her passion for community and civic engagement has been reignited. Ruth has become more involved in local campaigns for progressive leaders. She is eager to explore how to leverage policy solutions to remove systemic barriers for underrepresented populations in higher education.