Damariz Ibáñez joined the Undergraduate Diversity Services team at the Foster School of Business as the Young Executives Of Color (YEOC) Program Manager in 2017 and is now going into her sixth year with the program. She is a proud first-generation student from a family of immigrant farmworkers from the Yakima Valley. Her involvement as an Achiever Scholar in the College Success Foundation opened the door to the University of Washington for her degrees in medical anthropology and global health and Spanish, along with a minor in diversity. These degrees allowed her to further understand the systemic barriers that students face at every stage of the college application process and throughout their life as scholars and professionals.
These studies and lived experiences inspired her work in supporting first-generation, BIPOC students in gaining access to higher education. Her passion for supporting students through the YEOC program has only continued to grow as students’ barriers have evolved and expanded through societal changes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, shifts in political leadership, and the emergence of new challenges in academics. With these changes, it is always students from underrepresented and underserved communities who are overlooked and undervalued, leaving them to develop an unmatched level of resilience that isn’t expected of their counterparts.
Damariz is grateful for the opportunity to help guide students in harnessing this strength and energy into collaborative growth that fosters community-oriented practices and solutions. This diversity work has taught her to stay hopeful every day, because through small changes, like access to education, comes life-changing possibilities that impact students and their families. She believes that there is nothing better than shaping the future of our communities by looking after BIPOC students and encouraging them to never forget their roots, while also continuing to lift the next generation as they rise.