Durbin Announces Spring 2021 Recipient of the Ed Greelegs Scholarship Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced Keyla Michelle Ruiz, a junior at The George Washington University from Chicago, Illinois, as one of three Spring 2021 recipients of the Ed Greelegs Scholarship Program.  This scholarship, open to students from Illinois or those studying in Illinois, is an opportunity for the students to receive financial assistance while obtaining a first-hand experience in one of Senator Durbin’s offices.  The program was created in honor of Durbin’s former Chief of Staff who passed away in March 2017 due to complications with Parkinson’s disease.  There have been 14 Ed Greelegs scholars, including Keyla, since the program’s inception. Keyla assisted Durbin’s Chicago office operations during her internship.

“Ed knew everybody in Washington by name and everybody knew Ed. From Teddy Kennedy to the elevator operator, and the men and women who cleaned our office and polished the floor.  Even as parts of his memory were failing, his passion for politics never changed.  Ed is at peace now, but his influence remains with the lives he touched,” said Durbin.  “I’m excited to continue this scholarship program – even in the midst of a pandemic where my offices are working from home – in Ed’s name and honor, to carry on his love of politics to the next generation.  Keyla is a talented, inspiring, smart young woman and her future in politics is very bright.”

“Working at Senator Durbin’s office has given me the opportunity to build connections with individuals that I may have not encountered elsewhere. From the first day that I started working at Senator Durbin’s office until now, everyone that I have met has been welcoming and willing to share their knowledge and experiences with me. I have gained skills at Senator Durbin’s office that I will continue to use later in life,” said Keyla.

Keyla was born and raised in Chicago and is currently a junior at The George Washington (GW) University, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Psychology. She is the President of GW Casa Blanca and the Director of Cultural Affairs for GW Organization of Latinx American Students (OLAS). Her interests include criminal justice reform and education, with a specific focus on rehabilitation for juveniles. 

Senator Durbin paid tribute to Ed shortly after his passing in March 2017.  Video of his floor speech is available here.