Citlali Trujillo, Co-Valedictorian for the South Mountain Community College Class of 2021, found her community in South Phoenix.
Originally from California and having lived in Texas for most of her life, Citlali found it challenging to feel connected. However, through her classes, the campus, and neighborhood, she finally found a home in Arizona.
A triple major student pursuing an Associates of Science in Music Business, Arts, and General Studies, she felt she had the opportunity to learn in every class, finding diversity from her peers and professors.
"I just really embraced getting to know my classmates," Trujillo said. "I learned from other individuals' perceptions because of their values and cultures, and coming to SMCC helped me realize how much we can learn from a single person."
Trujillo's goal after graduating from SMCC is to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Communications, giving credit to her mom, who inspired her to study communications, culture, and advocacy through her life lessons.
"My mom always encouraged us to interact with our culture: Mexico," Trujillo said. "My and my siblings' names are in Nahuatl, our indigenous language. This is why I'm so interested in culture and communications."
Since middle school, Trujillo has studied multiple languages, including Turkish and German, and plans to learn Japanese. Upon graduation, Trujillo will move to Japan to reunite with her husband, who is serving in the military.
Her advocacy shined through after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, deciding, along with her mother, to support her neighbors and surrounding areas by making masks as a way to protect an already vulnerable community.
"I felt I could do something in time of need," Trujillo said. "Everything going on in our country pushed me to advocate, to share change petitions, and to take continue to educate myself."
As a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) chapter at SMCC, Trujillo stayed active as a member by engaging with members of the chapter to find ways to collect essential resources the community would need.
"The chapter evolved by meeting online," Trujillo said. "Wwe refocused our work during the pandemic."
Trujillo's participation in PTK, her outstanding academic career, and her advocacy earned her recognition in the All-Arizona Academic Ceremony in the Spring 2021.