2024 Commencement Speakers

Laura Ruiz

Laura Ruiz in Grad Regalia

Laura Ruiz began her educational journey in the fall of 2021 with a room full of thoughts about life. As a mother of four beautiful children, each at varying ages and stages, she felt the need to expand beyond the role of just being a mom—or, as she humorously puts it, "bro." One evening, driven by a desire for personal growth, Laura began researching community colleges. Riverside City College caught her eye, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that this was the path she needed to pursue. Enrolling at RCC was more than just a decision; it became a pivotal turning point. Despite her challenges as a single parent, she thrived in her studies. Driven by her belief in leveraging life's experiences to make a positive impact, Laura aspires to work within nonprofit organizations, extending her support to communities in need. Her passion for helping children led her to dream of becoming a professional child therapist, envisioning herself making a difference in the lives of K-12 students, particularly within the educational setting where she hopes to foster much-needed change. Her next chapter awaits at Cal State Fullerton, where Laura is set to earn her bachelor's degree in psychology, complemented by a minor in education. Her enduring spirit of an RCC Tiger makes her forever grateful for the transformative experiences that have shaped her path forward. 

Genaveve Carrillo

Genaveve Carrillo in graduation regalia

Genaveve Carrillo is a passionate, confident, and accomplished student dedicated to self-improvement. Her dedication and faith kindled her dreams of returning to college, leading her to embark on her academic career at Riverside City College (RCC), where she excels academically. She is set to graduate at the top of her class, earning a degree with academic distinction in the arts of communications, humanities and philosophy, and social and behavioral studies. At Riverside City College, she actively participated in various campus organizations, including the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honors Society and the Center for Communication Excellence. Currently pursuing a major in Communication Studies, Genaveve has been accepted for transfer to California State University, Fullerton. Her long-term goal is to become a Communication Studies professor after obtaining a master's degree. As a first-generation student, the guidance she received from RCC faculty was instrumental in helping her understand the necessary steps to achieve her goals. Inspired by faith and RCC faculty, Genaveve discovered her passion for working in higher education and public speaking. She recognizes first-generation students' challenges and uncertainties and hopes to support and guide future students navigating higher education. Genaveve's extensive involvement on campus has granted her a deep understanding of the available resources, enabling her to assist fellow students in accessing the support they need. Beyond her academic pursuits, Genaveve cherishes quality time spent with friends and family. She is also passionate about personal growth and self-improvement. Genaveve's commitment to her education, combined with her genuine desire to uplift and empower others, positions her as an aspiring leader and advocate within the field of Communication Studies.  

Stephanie Medina

Stephanie Medina in graduation regalia

Stephanie Medina is a Mexican-American first-generation student with a profound passion for art and pop culture. She was a member of the ADM department and enrolled in the CTE program. She will soon graduate with an Associate in Graphic Design and two certificates. Stephanie's college journey began at the onset of the pandemic, which unfortunately confined most of her experiences to a computer screen. Despite this challenge, she persevered, taking 1-2 classes per semester. Initially, she found herself losing motivation and contemplating dropping out after 2020. However, Stephanie returned to on-campus courses in her final year, which proved transformative. She gained a wealth of knowledge and experiences that surpassed her previous college years. Supported by her family, Stephanie found the motivation to pursue a career in her passion for art and intends to further her education for her Bachelor’s degree. Beyond her academic pursuits, Stephanie finds joy in crocheting, collecting stickers and pins, drawing, and enjoying movies with friends and family. Her inspiration stems from the pop culture she immerses herself in and the people around her. Stephanie's dream is to inspire others, just as she has been inspired. She sees speaking at graduation as an opportunity to share her message with all who will listen, embodying her desire to motivate and uplift those around her.  

Cristian Castellanos

Cristian Castellanos in graduation regalia

Cristian Castellanos embodies resilience, determination, and a genuine commitment to his academic journey and the betterment of his community. As a first-generation college student, he navigated the complexities of higher education. He thrived, significantly impacting his campus through his involvement in various organizations, notably the Associated Students of Riverside City College. With a focus on Kinesiology, Castellanos has been accepted for transfer to California State University, Fullerton, starting fall 2024. His ultimate goal is to pursue a career as a Kinesiologist after completing a master's degree. During his time at RCC, Castellanos had the opportunity to connect with faculty, gaining valuable insights into his desired career path. As a first-generation student, faculty mentorship was pivotal in guiding him toward his aspirations. Inspired by the supportive community at RCC, Castellanos developed a passion for higher education. He understood the challenges and uncertainties that first-generation students often encounter and aimed to guide and assist those navigating similar paths. John's active involvement on campus has equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of available resources, enabling him to aid fellow students in accessing the support they need. Castellanos treasures moments spent with loved ones and is committed to personal growth and development outside academia. His dedication to his studies and his genuine desire to uplift and empower others positions him as a promising leader and advocate within the RCC institution.  

ASRCC President Clarissa

ASRCC President Clarissa  in graduation regalia

Clarissa Juarez Carrasco is a shining example of perseverance and leadership. As a first-generation Honduran immigrant, Clarissa has navigated the challenges of adapting to a new country while excelling academically and personally. Graduating with a degree in Kinesiology, Clarissa is on her path to becoming a dedicated athletic trainer. She is driven by her passion for sports and helping others achieve their physical best. Clarissa’s commitment to her education and community is evident in her extensive involvement in various student organizations. She has served as the Student Body President, where her leadership and advocacy have significantly impacted her peers and the campus community. Clarissa's time as Pro-Temp Student Trustee on the District Board of Trustees highlights her dedication. In these roles, she worked tirelessly to bridge the gap between the student body and administration, ensuring student voices were heard and considered in decision-making processes. Clarissa’s story breaks barriers and sets new standards for herself and future generations of first-generation students and immigrants. As she moves forward to her next chapter, she will continue to inspire and lead with the same passion and dedication that has defined her academic journey.  

Commencement 2024

We are excited to celebrate the class of 2023 with not one, not two, but FOUR commencement ceremonies! More information about Commencement.