Hello, my name is Rachel E. Kim, and I am an intern writing on behalf of the Fairfax Library Foundation. Welcome to “Where are they now?,” a blog series about the Foundation’s past scholarship recipients and their current situations.
For the fourth blog of the series, I interviewed Ms. Claudia Rojas, another recipient of the scholarship and a graduate of George Mason University:
Q: What have you been pursuing or participating in since receiving the scholarship?
The scholarship helped pay for my Associate's at NVCC (Northern Virginia Community College). I then transferred to George Mason University, where I graduated with a Bachelor's in English in 2017.
Q: What is your career aspiration/situation? What inspired you to choose this area of study?
I am currently a teaching artist who brings poetry into school classrooms, with the long-term goal of teaching poetry in the college classroom as a professor. Poetry is not yet a full-time job for me, so I also do writing and editing.
Q: Why did you choose the Fairfax Library Foundation as your scholarship source?
I was nominated by a library manager. I had been volunteering as a technology tutor for over a year.
Q: What made you a good candidate for the scholarship? Did the scholarship match your interests or career aspirations?
I do a lot of volunteer work within the community. I have always loved the library. I find myself in one all the time.
Q: Why was receiving scholarship assistance important to you?
I'm an immigrant with a special status (temporary protected status), which means I'm ineligible for financial aid. I've had to work to pay for college, so the scholarship eased the economical burden.
Q: How have you contributed to the Fairfax Library Foundation or to your community?
I'm involved in several poetry and art events for the immigrant community—particularly raising awareness that temporarily protected status immigrants are losing humanitarian protections that would leave us undocumented or force us to return to countries we haven't known in nearly two decades. Additionally, I serve as a mentor for a junior youth group that meets in my local library. The goal is for the youth to make friendships, build the power of expression, and participate in community service.
Q: What role has the library played in your life? In turn, what role have you played in enhancing the library?
When I was a child, the library provided a space for me and my mother to read books; she took out books on audio tape for us. Now, the library is a place of comfort and beats any coffee shop. I do a lot of writing and thinking in these spaces.