Maria is a hard working student who was nominated by two different instructors for Student of the Month. She will be graduating in May and her goal is to transfer to UC Merced to continue her education with a degree in Public Health. She wants to become a nutrition educator and give back to her community. In many ways, she has already met this goal. In the Spring of 2014 she not only participated in the Foods and Nutrition Department’s 5th annual culture and cuisine event, she took a leadership role by introducing 30 high school students to the Merced College Campus. She again was a leader in the Spring 2015 event including organizing an additional cultural event.
Will Baker, one of her instructors, says that Maria was the spark that ignited his ENGL 1A class students by mentoring the younger students and drawing older students into both mentoring younger students and becoming involved themselves.
At the end of Fall 2015, Maria volunteered at Make Someone Happy, a county outreach program that targets low income families providing nutritional education. One of her activities was to give food presentations. She participated in the Sweet Potato Festival in Livingston where she planned, prepared and presented a cooking demonstration. She also was able to work with the Registered Dietitian at Public Health – which is the area she is interesting in pursuing at UC Merced. Michelle Pecchinino says she has represented Merced College well in all these endeavors.
Maria believes that there are a number of career opportunities that will be open to her after her education is completed and that her activities here at Merced College and in the community have allowed her to get connected with potential employers. She says “This is my last semester at Merced College. I am excited, and also sad because I’m leaving this great college.”