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Student Success: Elaine Sorto-Justiniano

Student Success: Elaine Sorto-JustinianoElaine Sorto-Justiniano

Meet Elaine Sorto-Justiniano, a first-generation Rhode Island Promise Scholar from Providence, RI; a soon-to-be Class of 2023 graduate; and the college's Student Government Director of Student Relations.

In her director's role, Elaine, 19, serves as the Student Representative on the Student and College Success committee, one of nine standing communities that falls under the leadership of CCRI's Faculty Senate.

In addition to her committee position, Elaine is also a part-time Student Ambassador – a role in which she helps conduct campus tours and assists at various campus events – and is a member of the President's Scholars, a select group of students that meet monthly with President Meghan Hughes to provide feedback on their personal experiences and present issues directly to the administration. 

Among the many hats she wears as both a student and an advocate for fellow students, Elaine takes great pride in her role as Director of Student Relations. Her focus this semester is positioning the college's Student Government for future success through campus-wide outreach to boost participation and encourage current and new students to get involved.

In today's Student Success feature, we learn more about Elaine's plans beyond CCRI and the many benefits of joining Student Government.

What are you currently studying at CCRI?

I’m majoring in General Studies with a concentration in Psychology. It's been great studying at CCRI, and I've had some wonderful professors who have helped me discover my passion for Psychology.

I’m so excited to be graduating with the Class of 2023! As a first-generation college student, it's been difficult to get to this point, so I'm really looking forward to graduating with my friends and seeing all my hard work pay off.

What are your plans beyond CCRI?

I'm grateful to the Joint Admissions Agreement (JAA) program, which is allowing me to transfer to URI to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in the fall. After that, I want to attend Grad School to earn a degree in School Psychology. I've always had a strong desire to help people, and pursuing psychology is one of the ways I plan on giving back to my community. 

Tell us about your role as the Director of Student Relations for CCRI’s Student Government and how does that role translate to the Faculty Senate?

As the Director of Student Relations for CCRI’s Student Government, my main responsibility is to advocate for the concerns and needs of students and student groups. One of the best ways to serve the student body is by listening to them, which is the main reason Student Government offers office hours for students to schedule a time to talk to a Student Government member and share ideas or offer feedback on their experiences at CCRI.

I have had a great experience serving as a Student Representative on the Student and College Success committee, which is one of the committees of the Faculty Senate. I've learned so much about the formulation of academic policies and their impacts on the greater student body. My role as a representative of the student body on the committee is to provide input to ensure that student concerns are being taken into account. Being a Student Representative is an extension of my role as Director of Student Relations, and I'm grateful for the opportunity.

Has it been increasingly more challenging to get students involved in Student Government since the pandemic?

When I first got involved with Student Government in the spring of last year, it was challenging to recruit students because many were struggling and didn't have the time to get involved. Since then, we've seen an increased interest in joining Student Government due to the Involvement Fair and other recruitment initiatives.

Most students might think that being part of Student Government is time-consuming, but we have various roles available to students, depending on how much they want to get involved. Currently, there are roles in Student Government that need to be filled and I encourage anyone interested in joining Student Government to apply to them. 

What are some of the benefits of being involved in Student Government?

Joining Student Government has been an incredible experience for me. I've been able to grow as a person and develop my voice as a leader, which is something I didn't expect to accomplish when I initially joined. Being a part of Student Government has also given me the chance to meet so many passionate people who are dedicated to making a meaningful impact on the college community.

Overall, I think that being involved in Student Government is a great way to earn essential leadership experience and make a difference during your time as a student at CCRI.

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