Students from the the Scholars Latino Initiative

Creating a path to success for Latinx students

October 7, 2022

Student Experience

Senior leadership studies student Sofia Ringvald has always been passionate about volunteering, especially with other Latinx students.

“Coming here from Florida as a Latinx female, I knew I wanted to get involved in a Latinx organization,” Ringvald said. She now serves as co-president of the Scholars Latino Initiative (SLI). She and co-president Sofie Martinez, also a leadership studies major, work with high school students in the Richmond area to help them apply to and prepare for college.

“This work is important because our program creates meaningful relationships with our mentees,” Ringvald said. “For some of these high school students, SLI is their way to have a future and have a mentor who cares enough to make sure they get to where they want to be.”

The University of Richmond chapter of SLI pairs Spider undergrads with high school students. They meet at events throughout the year. This month, they answered questions about preparing for college and the application process.

“I had always wanted to contribute to the greater Richmond area, but never really knew where my time would be utilized the best,” Martinez said. “I see my time at SLI as the most impactful work I have done to serve a community, not because of the impact I have made on the program, but on the ways the members of the program have impacted me. I have met some of the most determined, hard-working, compassionate, funny, and inspirational people in this program.”

Martinez, the first in her family to attend college, said the world of higher education can sometimes seem daunting.

“You don’t know the right things to wear, to say, to believe, or to be taken seriously,” she said. “SLI's main goal is to create a community for our mentees and their families who want to enter into this environment for the first time, and help them through that process.”