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Ruby Vejar

A political science major at Weber State University has been appointed to the Newman Civic Fellowship, a national program that provides learning and networking opportunities for emerging community leaders. 

Ruby Vejar was surprised to learn she was nominated for the program. The junior calls herself a quiet person, but someone who is willing to speak up and be an advocate. 

Vejar can be found all over campus: she works in the Center for Community Engaged Learning, serves as student senator for the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, and participates in the American Democracy Project, which helps students register to vote and learn more about political candidates. Portrait of Ruby Vejar

“I’ve always been pretty involved, looking for ways we can improve as a university,” Vejar said. 

Last year, she interned for U.S. Rep. Blake Moore and Utah State Rep. Cheryl Acton, and also interned at a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, where she mentored children and offered guidance on how to apply for college. Vejar is also part of several WSU committees, including parking, scholarships and sustainability. 

Having experienced financial hardships, Vejar said she’s especially passionate about helping students pay for college.

“I’ve had a lot of amazing educators who helped me understand that, while I might have an extra set of challenges, I have a voice where I can share my experience and I can help someone else in their experience.” 

Vejar’s advocacy caught the eye of WSU President Brad Mortensen, who nominated her for the fellowship. “From campus to the local community and state, Ruby’s service to others attracts support for her advocacy on issues such as scholarship model revision, student retention and minority entrepreneurship,” Mortensen said. 

Vejar is also minoring in legal studies with the intent to become an immigration lawyer. 

“Watching my family go through the immigration process, it made me realize there’s a need for lawyers who really support their clients,” Vejar said. She notes how immigration laws are complex and the process is costly, but she wants to be able to direct families to resources on their path to citizenship. 

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Vejar said she looks forward to addressing issues that matter to students and the community “in a research-based way,” collecting and sharing information that will help make universities more accessible to more people. 

“I just want to make sure that everyone has a chance,” she said.