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Sharing my heritage, in my own words (Part 1)

Dr. Selene Hernandez-Ruiz, water quality scientist, shares her background and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life.

Denver Water is very proud of our diverse workforce. We asked a few of our employees to share in their own words what National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, means to them and how their culture and backgrounds have provided inspiration to their lives.

Selene Hernandez-Ruiz in Teotihuacan, about 25 miles from Mexico City, at the Pyramid of the Sun, the third largest pyramid in the world and the second largest in the American continent.

Dr. Selene Hernandez-Ruiz, Water Quality Lab manager

I was born and raised in Mexico and as a child, I dreamed of helping repair the environment that our society has polluted. Today, I’m grateful for the American culture that nurtures my desire to make a world that’s better socially and more environmentally conscious.

Growing up, I saw the effects of a polluted environment. Middle schools in Mexico City heavily emphasize art and science museum visits. But physical education is not practiced much due to high levels of ozone air pollution that irritates the lungs and contributes to diseases such as asthma.

When I was 14 years old my parents uprooted me to the United States, right in the middle of my freshman year of high school. While it was significant change, I retained my love of learning, and as a teenager I set out to conquer my most difficult subject — chemistry class.

I was determined to take advantage of the sacrifice my parents made to bring us to the United States. In my twenties, I channeled my energy, my fears and my passion for science into my studies — ultimately getting a doctorate in environmental chemistry.

I am proud of the Mexican culture that fostered my growth, inculcated discipline and created my love for science.

Water quality has been my passion since my early years and I feel fortunate to be part of the Denver Water family. Que viva el agua!

Learn more about Hernandez-Ruiz and her work as a water quality scientist in, “Journey of Water: Treatment and Distribution.”