Our SHE-CAN Scholar:

Elvira Roquel

SHE-CAN Scholar: Elvira Roquel

Elvira Roquel is a first-year student at Syracuse University. She is an indigenous woman from a family of 11 in a rural village in Sololá, Guatemala. She is proud of her Maya Kaqchikel heritage, language, and culture. Seeing most young women in her community unable to complete elementary school, Elvira decided to make education her priority. At 12 years old, she received a life-changing scholarship to study at the MAIA Impact school, where she developed her leadership skills and a desire to create a positive change in her family, community, and Guatemala.

In 2019, Elvira took part in a community library project to design and build mobile community libraries in different communities of Sololá and to encourage students to explore reading. In the following year, she joined the Agua Limpia Ya program and organized cleanup and reforestation days on the shores of Lake Atitlán. She also joined a judo club, a sport that made her confront machismo and provide strength, although many believe Judo is not for girls. In 2022, Elvira initiated and ran a project called “Green Mind, Green Life” to provide recycling education and promote environmental-friendly activity. Elivira then was awarded the Zonta Young Women in Public Affairs for her exceptional leadership.

Elvira knows that women in her community can do more than cleanings and cooking. They can be doctors, presidents, scientists, or athletes. By continuing her education, Elvira is breaking cycles of generational poverty and outdated social norms. After graduating Elvira wants to return to MAIA and continue to work for women’s empowerment, and eventually become an ambassador of Guatemala abroad.


Academic Major

Class of 2027

Mentor Team

Jennifer Mathews, Head of Enrollment Services, BridgeU
Heather Pelant, Partner, Baker Street Investors
Joanne Mena, Chief Talent Officer - Latin America, Mediabrands
Mary Francis, Corporate Secretary and Chief Governance Officer, Chevron
Karen Silverman, CEO/Founder, Cantellus Group