Elon University students have always been part of a busy campus culture. Students often have to balance classes, meetings and working on-campus jobs.

Citlaly Mora felt these pressures while she was a student at Elon just a few years ago. The Elon alumna graduated in 2016, and had to balance all of the above — and more.

Mora was a member of the Latin American Student Organization — LASO, now the Latinx Hispanic Union — and EFFECT — Elon Feminists for Equality, Change, and Transformation. She worked three jobs, some which were not on campus, and commuted from her home where she was raising her daughter.

Zoe, Mora’s daughter, was born while Mora was in high school. She quickly had to learn how to balance her own life and the life of her daughter.

“It was really hard,” Mora said. “I luckily had the support of my mom, and I learned how to manage my time. I figured out a schedule, so she wouldn’t be neglected. Whenever there were any events I had to go to, she would be there. She grew up at Elon.”

Time management played a big role in Mora’s ability to get through college. She planned out her days and made sure they revolved around whether her daughter would be at daycare or if she needed to take a night shift, so she could put her daughter to rest before she went off to work.

Her dedication toward her schoolwork and her daughter inspired many. Oscar Miranda ‘17 met Mora through their scholarship program, Golden Door Scholars, which allowed her to continue her education at Elon. She motivated him daily through her passion and dedication to finish school.

“She is so strong, determined and passionate about the work she does,” Miranda said. “She has so much on her plate. For example, she is a young mother, and the way that she has worked countless jobs to take care of her daughter and come to school, is remarkable.”

Mora states that one of her biggest accomplishments was receiving her diploma. She graduated in 2016, and she had a job lined up before her graduation.

“My parents were unable to finish school,” Mora said. “Graduating and being able to work and get involved will be my proudest accomplishment.”

Mora currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina and is working as the Senior Director of Women’s Resource Center and Latino Family Center at YWCA High Point. She was offered the position while still at Elon, and they waited for her to graduate so that she could begin working.

Mora always knew that she wanted to help people somehow. She is a feminist and advocates for immigrant rights as well as women’s rights. She motivated other people like Miranda to become involved.

“Citlaly is a huge advocate,” Miranda said. “She will be the voice for the people that do not have a voice. She pushed me to come to my first protest in Greensboro. She is a fighter.”

Her job allows her to help people and be an activist, which was what she knew she wanted to do.

“On a daily basis, my work includes a lot of meetings and case management to help women with resumes and look for jobs,” Mora said. “I do not have many restraints with my activism in my job, but I had to learn to be diplomatic and to not work against the interest of people I am supposed to be supporting.”

Mora recently came back to Elon’s campus to speak about her work. She was invited to speak as part of Perspectivas III, which are dialogues dedicated to the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. She titled her presentation, “Looking at feminism, racism, and Latinx empowerment through a non-profit lens.”

She felt good delivering her presentation to a room of people ready to learn about activism in the workplace.

“It was nerve wracking,” Mora said. “I get very anxious. It feels a little different to present and be back on campus having already been through this. It is starting to feel more like home now that I’ve graduated than when I was here.” 

Elon was at times a difficult environment for Mora, but she states that it prepared her for the workforce.

“The environment was at times hard with the lack of diversity,” Mora said. “As a commuter student, it was also really hard to build relationships. It wasn’t the same to establish connections with students as it was with mentors and professors. It helped because that is how the real world is.”

Her Elon education translates into her job as well.

“Although I work with a lot of minority people, they are not running the nonprofit,” Mora said. “It tends to be like Elon. It has made me comfortable and I work on still being myself not assimilating, but being able to work around that and do what I want to do.”

Mora is currently applying to graduate school and she continues to have an impact on others.

“She is a great woman, she is a great mother,” Miranda said. “She pushes me to be a better person.”