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Student Spotlight

Dec. 13, 2016

Georgina Ruano-Arriaga hopes to continue cultural growth in Japan

By Lexi Ryan, media relations assistant

From student employment opportunities and faculty relationships to the field experiences it offers, Northwest has helped Georgina Ruano-Arriaga prepare for a life in Japan after leaving the University.

Ruano-Arriaga, from St. Joseph, Missouri, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design. She is pursuing teaching and graphic design opportunities in Japan.

“I’ve always had an interest in the culture since I was in high school,” Ruano-Arriaga said.

Ruano-Arriaga is inspired to seek opportunities abroad by a friend at Northwest who studied abroad in Japan and acquired an English teaching position there after graduating. Her boyfriend also studied abroad and encouraged her to pursue an opportunity outside of the United States.

Having moved from El Salvador to the United States when she was 7 years old, she says she can use that knowledge and apply it to what she may encounter in Japan.

Northwest also has prepared her to step into a new culture. She enhanced her qualifications at the University by working as an English as a Second Language conversation partner and Spanish conversation partner.

“Northwest means an opportunity,” Ruano-Arriaga said. “It means that after graduation I feel like I can confidently obtain a career in the field I studied.”

As a Northwest student, she was the vice president of Kappa Pi, an art fraternity. She worked as an assistant advertising design manager at The Northwest Missourian before becoming a graphic design assistant in the Office of University Marketing and Communication, where she worked as a graphic design assistant, designing posters, brochures, and other marketing pieces.

She was influenced by faculty who pushed her to work hard and mold her into a better student.

“They’ve always been kind and had an understanding that as a student, there comes a lot of stress,” Ruano-Arriaga said. “They show a lot of sympathy, empathy and compassion, and I’m really grateful for that.” 

Ruano-Arriaga chose Northwest for its high rate of graduates receiving jobs. She also was attracted to the campus by the landscape and Missouri Arboretum. But the diverse community at Northwest has changed her.   

“At first I thought I was really open-minded,” Ruano-Arriaga said. “But these five years have exposed me to the vast diversity of people in our world and how to be respectful and mindful of them.”

Ruano-Arriaga says her favorite memories of Northwest are meeting people and creating strong bonds. She counts winning “best conceptual piece” in last spring’s Juried Student Exhibition at Northwest.

“In the Fine Arts Building, some of the students are assigned studio space to work on their art and I was fortunate to have two different spaces to work with,” Ruano-Arriaga said. “I’m just really going to miss having those utilities and the space. It made it easier to create artwork with the tools available and having a space made for the intention of making a mess.”

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468