MPP Alumni Spotlight

Yuliana Ruiz


Yuliana was born in Ciudad Morelos, Mexico, and moved to Yuma, Arizona at the age of five. Growing up, she regularly traveled to Mexico – spending weekends in border towns and summers in the state of Michoacán. It was there that Yuliana first recognized the impact of limited economic development and social institutions on people’s everyday lives. From disparities in employment and schooling opportunities to shortages of water, sanitation, and sewage disposal, the people of Michoacán were living very different lives than those in Yuma. This personal experience drove Yuliana to pursue a Master of Public Policy at the University of Arizona where she studies the relationship between institutional policies and economic development.  

Alongside her graduate studies, Yuliana works at the University of Arizona Honors College as an Academic Advisor. She has over seven years of higher education experience through numerous roles in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and at the Eller College of Management. In these roles, Yuliana has strived to serve students by advocating, implementing, and supporting institutional changes to promote access and create more equitable opportunities within higher education.  

Humbled by the privilege to continue her education while working full-time, Yuliana hopes to apply the quantitative skills she has learned from the MPP program to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of those individuals and communities that are less than fortunate – whether in the United States or abroad.

As a first-generation college graduate, Yuliana earned her Bachelor of Science in May 2014 and is now a second-time graduate of the University of Arizona earning a Master of Public Policy in August 2021.