Andrea Ramirez Arana is the undergraduate student of distinction from the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures with a B.A. in Spanish.
“She is an example of strength, hard work, maturity, drive to overcome obstacles, and perseverance,” said Dr. María Dolores Morillo, assistant professor of Spanish.
Ramirez was born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico. She studied industrial design at the Universidad de Guadalajara before coming to the U.S. at 21. Without any previous knowledge of English, she had to attend adult school to learn how to speak and write the language.
“The hardest part I have had to face before and during my academic career in the US has been the process of starting my life all over in a different country while speaking a totally different language,” said Ramirez.
A first-generation student, Ramirez attended Fresno City College, where she earned multiple awards and was on the Dean’s list. She transferred to Fresno State with a 3.81 GPA and has been on the Dean’s or the President’s List throughout her time at Fresno State.
“Andrea is a very dedicated, responsible, applied and kind student, who always wears a smile and is happy to be in class,” said Dolores. “She is kind to her peers, works very well with others, and her contributions are always on-point and well-thought-out.”
Rafael Lemus, Assistant Professor, Department of MCLL, added, “What surprises me most about Andrea is her contagious enthusiasm. She is, without a doubt, the most participative of the students, and she always contributes with accurate information and clear ideas.”
In addition to being a full-time student and taking care of her daughter as a single mother, Ramirez volunteered at Figarden Elementary School for three years before they hired her as a paraprofessional. She also helped the Armenian community with fundraisers.
“My future plans include obtaining my teaching credentials and a Master’s degree of Arts in Spanish. I also see myself teaching in a dual-immersion classroom, helping kids and parents who don’t know English. That would be one of the ways in which I would love to give back to the community,” says Ramirez.