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Rubi named Student Laureate of Lincoln Academy

Barry McNamara
Monmouth President Dr. Clarence R. Wyatt and Diana Rubi '18
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – With only a few exceptions, Diana Rubi ’18 has experienced all that Monmouth College has to offer, from Greek life to spiritual life, from service organizations to student government, and from off-campus study to majoring in three different subjects.

But those activities haven’t stretched Rubi too thin. She excels in all of them, and the campus community has taken notice. Rubi recently learned she had been selected as Monmouth College’s 2017 Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois.

Each fall an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Award and becomes a Student Laureate of the academy. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and cocurricular activities.

Rubi said she appreciates that Monmouth allows students to balance “dynamic” involvement with academic success, and that the school is small enough that she has been able to get know several students, faculty and staff, helping her come a long way from being a self-described “timid” freshman.

The Lincoln Academy honor joins a series of other recognitions that Rubi has received. An invited member of several honor societies, the political science, international studies and Spanish triple major was Monmouth’s Student Leader of the Year for 2016-17 and received the Brad Wefenstette Prize for Social Justice.

Rubi traces her involvement as a student back to elementary school – when she was also a Student Leader of the Year – serving as a translator for her youth soccer team in Peoria, Ill.

At Monmouth, the native of Mexico has continued work relating to her culture in a number of ways, perhaps most notably during a leadership intern project under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott, Monmouth’s chaplain, in which she focused on Latin American liberation theology.

“I wanted to create a platform for Latinas to express how theology represented them, or misrepresented them, but also give them a chance to change that, to form their own interpretation of what it means to believe in God,” said Rubi. “It was emotionally powerful.”

She often participates in campus-wide presentations on the advocacy efforts of the Office of Public Witness and BorderLinks, having experienced both organizations firsthand on a College-sponsored visit to the U.S.-Mexico border. She has traveled to Costa Rica and will spend her spring semester studying in Mérida, Mexico.

A member of the search committee for Monmouth’s vice president for student life, Rubi has served as a resident assistant, as vice president of membership development for Alpha Xi Delta and as a mentor for first-generation students.

A first-gen student herself, Rubi knows that feelings of confusion or being lost can come with the territory, so she’s made those issues a priority in her work for the College’s Wackerle Career and Leadership Center.

“(Students) don’t really know where to look or what to look for, so it’s been important to me to connect our first-gen students with our phenomenal career services center,” she said.

Selected to participate in the Graduate School Exploration Fellowship, Rubi spent last summer as a research assistant for the Center for Digital Research in Humanities at the University of Nebraska. She said the experience made her realize what a special place Monmouth College is.

“The students there couldn’t believe that I talked to President Wyatt on a regular basis, or that I knew some of our trustees and had some of them on Facebook. It’s incredible to have those personal relationships with people who are great influencers. ... It’s important to have those connections to be able to change things for the better.”

Rubi has served in many leadership roles on campus, including clerk and election chair for Associated Students of Monmouth College, the College’s student government organization. She is a founding member of Women of Change and Greeks Advocating for Inclusive Communities and is also a member of the presidential committee, All of Us Together. Her freshman year, she was a Moot Court finalist.

In addition to her internship with Ott, Rubi interned with the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of Methodist Churches in Peoria, partnering with the Mexican consulate to provide legal documents for the community.

After delivering a commencement address to her classmates in May as Monmouth’s Student Laureate, Rubi plans to continue her work with immigrants in central Illinois before pursuing a degree in immigration law.

“We need educated people to support our communities, or else we can’t move forward,” she said.