Calhoun College Dean April Ruiz ’05 will take on yet another leadership role this summer as dean of Freshman Scholars at Yale, a summer program held each year for incoming freshman from underresourced high schools.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions selects dozens of incoming freshmen each year to come to campus in July for FSY, where over the course of a month students enroll in Yale College courses, such as English 114, and attend workshops designed to acquaint them with campus resources. Ruiz’s appointment comes in the midst of the program’s expansion: Next year, FSY will grow by 12 places to accommodate a total of 60 students due to high demand. Ruiz succeeds Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizárribar, who was named to her current position on Dec. 14, prompting a search for a new FSY dean beginning in February.
“We chose Dean Ruiz for the true sincerity of her interest in the FSY program, and her strong background of experiences at Yale and beyond that have prepared her to guide and support students,” said Dean of Student Engagement Burgwell Howard, who led the search committee.
Howard also said that Ruiz’s experience as a first-generation student at Yale will bring added understanding to the position, as many students participating in the program are the first in their families to attend college. FSY started in 2013.
Ruiz said she was honored to continue the work of previous FSY deans in helping students acclimate to Yale.
“When I arrived as a freshman at Yale in 2001 … I felt that I didn’t have many people in my life who could relate to my experience or understand some of the questions or concerns I had,” Ruiz said. “It would have been wonderful to have been part of a community of students and mentors like the one FSY now creates, and I feel lucky to contribute to this program for current and future Yalies.”
Howard added that the dean of FSY has traditionally been a sitting residential college dean, as they are already well-versed in the academic and social challenges faced by first-year students. Lizárribar was serving as dean of Ezra Stiles College when she was named the head of FSY.
Besides being a residential college dean, Ruiz has also served as a freshman and sophomore advisor within Morse College, an assistant director and fellowships adviser at the Center for International and Professional Experience and a mentor to students in the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan, who is involved with the selection process for participants in the program, said he looked forward to working with Ruiz, calling her a “great choice” for students and for FSY in general.
“As FSY expands and continues to serve a larger cohort of Yale students, the program needed a dynamic, creative and highly personable dean at its heart,” he said. “[Ruiz] fit those requirements and much more.”
Likewise, students in Calhoun expressed support for Ruiz in her new role.
Sarika Pandrangi ’17, president of the Calhoun College Council, said Ruiz has been helpful and approachable as dean. Jake Wolf-Sorokin ’16, a Calhoun master’s aide, agreed with Pandrangi that Ruiz was a good choice for dean of FSY.
“Dean Ruiz has done an excellent job as dean of Calhoun and I am excited to hear of her appointment as dean of FSY,” Wolf-Sorokin said.
Ruiz is also a lecturer in the Departments of Psychology and Cognitive Science.