Senior Spotlight: Cicilia Saenez (MSU ’20)

With graduations for university students across Colorado underway, the Puksta Foundation is featuring “Senior Spotlight” profiles, a special series of posts to celebrate our graduating Puksta Scholars and their projects. We are truly impressed by the work these students have accomplished as Puksta Scholars, and we are so grateful to have this opportunity to share these profiles with the community so you can get to know our Pukstas a bit better.

Please join us in congratulating these students and wishing them luck in the future!

Today our featured Puksta Senior is Cicilia Saenez, graduating from Metropolitan State University!

Cicilia majored in Special Education with a concentration in CLD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education). She spent her time as a Puksta working to improve special education outcomes for underrepresented communities and supporting awareness of suicide prevention resources for youths. Reflecting on her Puksta experiences, Cicilia shared the following:

I grew up in Commerce City and graduated from Adams City High School. As a first-generation high school graduate, stepping into college was going to be scary territory. My journey to Puksta started my junior year, it was a little bit of a mess, I didn’t have much confidence when applying as I had just been rejected from one scholarship. Being accepted into Puksta was and has been one of my greatest success through out my college experience. It has allowed me to grow in ways I did not know I needed. It created a space for me to network and build on skills that I will be able to carry into my profession. It also gave me a platform to talk about the things that are important to me. But most importantly Puksta gave me Puksta love, a place where we can express individuality, a place where we can support each other and build, a place where we can laugh and not be afraid. That is something I will always take with me.  

My first year as a Puksta Scholar my project consisted of creating a space for underrepresented communities to receive information on the benefit of special education services. This included teaching students and parents how to use what was offered to them, and to help improve their academic outcome. The passion for creating this space came from my major and seeing how much parent and student don’t know about what is out there for them. But as my time in Puksta went on, my project changed. In this project my hope was to bring awareness to suicide prevention resources. My goal was to reach the youth and college males, as I feel they are two of the populations that are most at risk in our communities. This was done through posting on social media and becoming more informed myself.

Congratulations on the completion of your degree, Cicilia, and thank you for your truly meaningful and impactful work in the community!