Editor’s Note: Celeste Sadler is a member of the book club led by Marisol Ruiz.
Dr. Marisol Ruiz, the graduate program coordinator and professor for the School of Education at Cal Poly Humboldt, got Full Professorship in the fall of 2022.
Ruiz was born in Chile during a time of police unrest. Her father had been a detective during the Allende administration and became a political prisoner when Allende was overthrown. Ruiz’s family immigrated to the United States after her father was released from prison. She was raised in the Mission District of San Francisco by her single mother in an all-female household, which consisted of her mother, grandmother and two sisters. Ruiz’s mother is the one that encouraged her and her sisters to study and go to school.
“She would always do her piece of social justice like go to meetings. How are we going to help this. You know, workers aren’t getting paid so we’re gonna go and protest that,” Ruiz said. “She would take us with her. So we learned from her about social justice. About standing up with workers and labor organizing.”
Ruiz received her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University. She continued at SFSU and got her credentials in Cross Cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD)/Social Science in 1997 and her master in education and women’s studies in 2001. In 2008, Ruiz graduated from the University of New Mexico with a PhD in Language Literacy and Culture and a concentration in Educational Thought and Cultural Studies. She has since published 17 journal articles, one book, seven book chapters and a multitude of other academic works.
“The calling of education, I think, it’s the whole thing of critical consciousness … It’s part of being in the classroom and not only being an advocate for youth but also being able to help them critically think,” Ruiz said.
Ruiz was an Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University from 2009 to 2013. Ruiz moved to Humboldt County with her husband, Cesar Abarca, and two daughters in 2013 to be closer to family. Both Ruiz and her husband started teaching at CPH that year.
Ruiz teaches a variety of different courses at CPH such as the pedagogy course for the education masters program, bilingual education/Teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) courses, Language Arts/Literacy courses, research and multicultural education courses and educational methods courses. She also teaches the following Hispanic Serving Institute (HSI) Grant courses: Creando Raises and PromotorX Transformative Educators. Ruiz wrote and developed the MA Bilingual Program in 2013-2014.
Isabel Acosta, the sex, health and politics educator at the Women’s Resource Center described Ruiz as, “A badass woman and I have a lot of respect for her and admiration for her. She is just such a go-getter. And when she has an idea for something, she knows how to execute it and I really admire that about her.”
Ruiz is a member of the College Personnel Committee and the Ethnic Studies General Education Implementation Committee. She is the advisor to the Women’s Resource Center and is hosting a book club in collaboration with the WRC. The book club meets every Tuesday from 12am to 1pm at Balabanis House #55.
“I feel like I always wanted to build community within the classroom… You see each other, you listen to each other, you know who you are. And now I’m teaching educators to do the same,” Ruiz said. “I’m trying to do the best and trying to push out educators that are also going to be the change agents and make a difference in the lives of students.”