Shania is a first-generation Ecuadorian-Colombian-American from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She grew up in rural Missouri, where she was often the only Latinx or “out” person in her community. Shania’s sense of “otherness” in her rural midwestern communities drove her to study systems of inequality and marginalization. Shania studied Sociology at Truman State University in northeast Missouri. At Truman, she discovered her love of public service and knowledge creation. Shania was the first Latina president of her university’s student government. In this role, she founded the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, the first targeted center for LGBTQ people in northeast Missouri. Through her involvement in the Ronald E. McNair Program and the University of Michigan’s Summer Research Opportunities Program, Shania developed her identity as a population researcher who centers on LGBTQ and Latinx groups. To continue this work, Shania is attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue her Ph.D. in Sociology.