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Marisela Ramos' Biography

My own journey to (and through) school has been an expression of the way individuals can accomplish the unexpected or become what others could not imagine. The daughter of immigrant parents, I grew up in the infamous barrios of East Los Angeles, where the hard scrabble for money and education and the threat of violence are constant concerns with few realistic solutions. Growing up, I did not personally know any professionals or scholars. Nor did I have a sense of choice for my own future.

In school, I wsd not taught the history of Mexicans in the U.S., but I knew it well from living in East LA, the country's largest Hispanic community. Everything changed for me at the age of fifteen when, with scholarship in hand and a lot of luck, I left East LA to attend a private boarding school in Massachusetts. Ironically, it was in Massachusetts, not in East LA, where I learned about Mexican history. It was in the many years since that I learned about societies, communities and individuals who had defied convention. It was the study of history that revealed to me that in fact there were and always are other choices. I discovered that too many histories have remained uncovered, unremembered and unwritten. I learned about people like Gloria Anzaldua, Dolores Huerta, Helen Keller, Martin Luther King Jr.,-people who did things they were not supposed to do, who defied the disbelief of others. It was through education that I found role models and a sense of my own choices and power. Since my introduction to Massachusetts, I have lived in four of the New England states. I have learned that knowledge is indeed power, power to make change, power to find choices, power to define oneself. It is for this reason that I wanted to become a professor. I want to be part of the process that encourages students to find their own power and their place in society.