Student mom Natalie Ruiz achieves her Berkeley dream, and shines

May 11, 2017

Majoring in sociology, studying abroad, joining student clubs, even learning to salsa dance. Natalie Ruiz was eager to see how much she could pack into two years at UC Berkeley when she arrived as a transfer student in fall 2013. Then, three weeks into first semester, 21-year-old Ruiz discovered she was pregnant. “My first thought was, ‘I’m going to drop out; there’s no way I can do school pregnant and with a child,’ ” she says. “I couldn’t envision my graduation from Berkeley anymore.” But this Sunday, May 14, Ruiz, now 25, will receive her diploma from the Department of Sociology, her 3-year-old daughter, Clara, beside her. Not only will she graduate with high honors and a 3.97 GPA, but she’ll give her department’s undergraduate commencement speech.

UC Berkeley NewsCenter