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I Am Elon with Steven Armendariz ’17

As a first-generation college student, the political science major is fully embracing Elon and the opportunities it provides him.

Steven Armendariz never expected to go to college. Higher education was a foreign concept to the first-generation college student, and he says the college application process was one of the biggest struggles of his life.

Now that he’s here, a junior majoring in political science and minoring in leadership studies and economics, he fully embraces Elon. “I appreciate my time here, and I try not to waste one minute. I want to maximize all of the opportunities I have—on campus and in the community,” Steven says.

A volunteer with the “It Takes A Village” Project, an Elon initiative that connects tutors from the university with struggling readers and their parents in the local community, Steven sees himself in the children. Growing up, he struggled with reading and learning the English language. “I was in their shoes once, and they’re not alone. They can see my story and know
that they have hope, too,” he says.

Steven began studying political science in his first year, and the topic fascinates him. Over the summer, he completed an internship at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, which cemented his love for international relations. “Now that I have a sense of how government works and how policies are made, I want to be able to change and create policy in the future,” he says.

Outside of his heavy academic load, Steven is the vice president of his class in the Student Government Association, presents as a global ambassador for the Global Education Center, works in the Academic Support and Advising Center and coordinates service-learning trips. “Service gives you the opportunity to make a change. And it is reciprocal,” he says.”Service allows for introspection while helping others.”

“I Am Elon” is a multimedia series by The Magazine of Elon featuring Elon students in their own words.

By Kim Walker

Keren Rivas,
11/6/2015 1:25 PM