Meet Elizabeth Morales-Castillo, 2022 Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist Nominee

young woman standing next to a column, wearing a red dress and graduation sash

Elizabeth Morales-Castillo is one of the 2022 Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist Nominees for the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Morales-Castillo is a first-generation student, who graduated from Washington Union High School. Her degree is in political science and Chicano studies.

Morales-Castillo decided to attend Fresno State after a tour of the campus during her senior year of high school. She said, “I realized this is the campus [where] I felt I belonged…I didn’t feel out of place, and I thought it was a really great campus to go to every day and be happy with the environment and the people that are there.”

As a student, Morales-Castillo has been an active member of the TRIO Student Support Services Program and the College Assistance Migrant Program. She has also been a member of mock trial, Phi Alpha Delta, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the USU Board of Directors, where she helped plan the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union.

Morales-Castillo has also been very active in the larger Central Valley community, interning with Fresno City Councilmember Tyler Maxwell and California Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula. She has also advocated for students at the state capitol as a part of ASI Lobby Corps.

After graduating, Morales-Castillo plans to pursue a Master’s in public policy and a Juris Doctorate to become an immigration attorney in the Central Valley. She says her family’s experience is the motivation behind her studies and career path.

“My parents are migrant workers and I see them struggle every day trying to make just enough to support my sister and I and our education. Then with the recent ICE raids and all of the big controversy with immigration, I feared that my parents would be deported and not come back home, and living through that was a really hard time. That’s when I realized I don’t want other families to go through the same thing. I don’t want other students to have to worry about their parents’ legal status while being a full-time student.

“My goal is to become an immigration attorney to help out these families, to not only make them feel safer in this country but to help out their kids and further their education and further their careers.”  


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