St. Olaf graduate selected for global leadership program

Recent St. Olaf College graduate Karla Ruiz ’17 has been selected to participate in the Leadership Development Program of The Global Education & Leadership Foundation in New Delhi, India.

Ruiz will live in India for the next two years as she participates in the program, which seeks to nurture ethical leadership skills, increase understanding of global dilemmas, provide opportunities to lead major projects on the ground, and connect with international change makers.

She will be joined by graduates of colleges and universities across the globe, including Harvard University, Colorado College, and the University of Sydney.

“I am hoping to grow as a person, since the program focuses on developing future responsible leaders,” says Ruiz. “I am also looking forward to finding new passions, meeting new people that I can learn from, and building my career path.”

As a student at St. Olaf, Ruiz was involved with the Latin American student organization SOMOS and the Student Government Association’s Diversity Celebrations Committee. She also helped organize and plan International Night and Africa Night.

She served as a research assistant for Professor of Political Science Kristina Thalhammer in her first year on campus.

“Her passion for politics, human rights and justice were an inspiration to continue my studies in the Political Science Department,” Ruiz says, noting that Thalhammer was a great source of support and encouragement during her entire St. Olaf career.

As a sophomore, Ruiz was selected to be part of ISFit, the largest student festival in the world devoted to discussion and debate about important political and social issues. She was able to attend the two-week festival in Trondheim, Norway, with the support of St. Olaf.

Ruiz went on to study abroad in Amman, Jordan, the fall semester of her junior year, and that experience led her to pursue a Middle Eastern Studies Concentration and begin to study Arabic.

In her senior year, Ruiz interned at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation at the University of Amsterdam as part of the Public Affairs Conversation. She attributes much of her growth as a leader and person to the classes, extracurricular activities, and mentors she had at St. Olaf.

“India will be the fourth country that I will be living in since I left Peru six years ago,” Ruiz says. “I am looking forward to experiencing a new country and a new working environment, and I am very excited for all the new things that are coming.”