In the wake of Hurricane Maria, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has been a visible presence on the ground in the Puerto Rican capital. She's been seen comforting nursing home residents, wading in the floodwaters, and pleading for more aid during news conferences and TV appearances, NBC News reported.
She also hasn't been afraid to assert herself — a trait the 54-year-old mayor of Puerto Rico's largest city has staked her political career on. Her interest in politics began young, first as president of her San Juan high school student council and school representative at a presidential youth summit.
She left Puerto Rico to study at Boston University and graduated with honors before earning a master's degree in public management and policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She went on to work in human resources and management departments at various companies, including Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Colgate-Palmolive and Cellular One.
But now, Cruz is being put to the biggest test since taking office, as lack of electricity, proper shelter, and dwindling food and fuel plague the island of 3.4 million residents.