Women of Wisdom-Maria


I met Maria, wow, has to be about 6 years ago when I was an AmeriCorps VISTA and facilitated a high school youth program. She was one of the first group of students I worked with and I was instantly drawn to her heart. She was always positive, prompt and just had a welcoming presence. She is now in college and has gone on to excel and I just had to catch up with her and see what she’s learned along the way.

Meet Maria…

  1. What inspired you to pursue a career in education?

   Ever since I was a young girl, I have always claimed that I have wanted to be a teacher. I believe my family’s history has played a vital role in my decision to become an educator. Both of my grandmothers, quite a few of my aunts, and my mother have worked or currently work with children. While I believe my family’s history has influenced me, there have also been moments while I was in elementary school that have inspired me to teach. I observed and befriended those in my classes that were unpopular or did not fit in with the “in-crowd”. If I noticed an individual in need of help, I would always offer my assistance and encouragement. Over the years, I have developed an appreciation for teachers. These individuals are role models, experts and wear a number of hats. A teacher’s platform can be used to motivate, inspire, and support students. Teachers have a keen sense of discernment and can cultivate the gifts and talents of students as well as provide them with the love and care each child deserves. I believe being an educator will help mold the next generation into successful, knowledgeable, innovative members of society. Education is a field that will cause me to be a lifelong learner – not only in the subjects I will teach but also to the lives I will teach. The creativity, challenges, and influence that is involved in education excites me.

  1. What keeps you focused on your goals?

 Positive peer pressure keeps me focused on my goals. There are a few people that have expressed to me that I am a good role model or that I am good leader and I want to continue to be a driven person. I have a set of “cheerleaders” that hold me accountable and sharpen me on those days that I do not feel like reaching my goals or confront me (in love) when I am not motivated. I am learning to encourage myself and think about why I started and where I want to be. Every time I achieve, I grow – becoming stronger and wise. There is a great sense of satisfaction, relief, and victory that I look forward to and that keeps me focused.

  1. How much does your spirituality impact your decisions?

My faith is my foundation. My parents have instilled a strong sense of spirituality in me since birth. I purpose to pursue all God has planned for me and to discover and utilize all that He has placed inside of me. I have always wanted to please God and be more like Him. While it is not an easy journey, I am growing in relationship with Him. Each day I realize that I cannot be moved by my emotions and what I perceive as the best may not be God’s best. There are days that I have to remind myself that I am no longer representing myself – I am an ambassador for Christ and that I belong to Him. Since I am His, He convicts me – especially in close relationships with friends and family. I do not want to do anything outside of God’s will for me so I am constantly in prayer for how He wants to use me and where He wants me to be. I am learning to trust Him and give thanks to Him in every season in my life. I am confident that every relationship, organization, school, job He has placed me in will help me.

  1. Who has inspired you?

There is not one who has inspired me; there are many “who’s”. I have been inspired by many of the conversations I have had with others and relationships (though some do not exist anymore) I have formed over the years. These conversations and relationships have inspired me to have a greater sense of understanding and compassion for others. These same people have dreams and goals – and have had set backs – yet they still have hope or they are doing something to help them become who they want to be. The stories of others, positive personalities, and individuals defy the odds or do something out of the ordinary inspires and motivates me to take risks/take a chance and to pursue whatever it is my heart is set on.

  1. Have you had any moments that you think really shaped who you are?

What are some of those moments and why were they impactful? Moments that I think really shaped who I am occurred whenever I ran for leadership positions (student council, VIA, SGA, SAEA President). Running for these positions helped me overcome being shy (talking in front of others and asking questions), made me realize the importance of relationships (how to work with others regardless of their differences in opinions and personalities), and how to take responsibility (everything rises and falls on leadership). I have learned the importance of being organized and what it means to be a servant leader.

  1. What do you want your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be built on love. I want to be an example of love in its simplest, purist form. I want all of my relationships to reflect an unconditional love and I want my gifts, skills and talents to be filled with passion. Whatever I am, whatever I am called to do will be done in a spirit of excellence and with great love.

  1. If you had to define yourself with only one word, what would that word be and why?

 If I had to describe myself in one world it would be tenacious. When situations go awry, I always persevere and make the best of the situation and I will do everything within my power to change the situation for the good of others and myself.

  1. What are some things outside of college that you are using to help you grow?

Working with children helps me grow in patience, in creativity, and in love. I often keep reflection journals and I record ways on how I should have approached situations differently. Their comments help me laugh and they also help me to be resilient. I also follow positive people on social media. Heather Lindsey is one of my favorites! I love her posts, I read her blogs, and I have invested in a few of her books. I watch her videos on YouTube and Periscope.

  1. Who first recognized your gifts and how did they help you cultivate those gifts?

My parents, a few church members, and some of my teachers were among the first to recognize my gifts. My parents have always talked to and listed to me/ supported my decisions, been my source of transportation, and been my critics. My church members have always encouraged me and asked me to help them with different projects and whenever I have had an idea, they supported me and asked me how they could assist. My teachers have exposed me to opportunities and encouraged me to apply for different things or made mention of my name to others that can give me advice.

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