Student Profile

Maria Alvarez
Maria Alvarez ’18
Darien, IL

Recipient of the Sheldon Danielson Odyssey Scholarship

What did you do this past summer?
I spent a week of my summer in New York, a city I quickly fell in love with. Most of my summer, though, was spent dedicating myself to activities that I knew I would not have enough time for once the school year started. I continued to teach myself Portuguese, and I did my best to reinforce the Latin I took in high school in order not to lose my proficiency in it. Not only did I focus on languages, but I also tried to learn as much as I could with regards to the violin. By the end of the summer, I was also spending time with friends that I knew I would not see for a while.

Please comment on the pursuit of your major and minor, as well as any other academic interests.
Being new to the University, I do not have a specific major or minor in mind. The classes that I have taken thus far have really encouraged me to look outside of what I though my major was going to be. Coming into the University of Chicago I thought I would major in international studies, but I quickly saw that the University had so much to offer. One of the programs at the University that seems appealing is the Journalism, Arts, and Media Studies program. After having written for the Maroon, I became interested in journalism as a possible career, though I know this could change with all the different options that the University has to offer. Being able to soak in all the knowledge available to me at UChicago is fantastic and I look forward to sharpening my skills as a writer in order to communicate this knowledge to others!

Please tell us about a significant or memorable experience you have had during your time at UChicago.
One of the most memorable experiences I have had at the University so far was the first time I was able to have a discussion with peers in class. This is when I realized what really distinguishes UChicago. The University is able bring together so many different types of students all with a passion to learn. All these different voices and opinions come together. Allowing students at the University to learn from each other and grow with each other.

What activities do you participate in outside of the classroom? Are there any that are new from last year?
Coming to the University I continued a lot of the same activities that participated in high school, namely journalism. Here at the University, I have written for the arts and culture section of the Maroon. I also participate in Model UN. With all that being said, it is impossible not to discover new activities and interests with all the University has to offer. This quarter I hope to write for the literary food magazine, Nonpareil. All in all, though, I’d say that my primary focus is going to be on my classes. The chance to write extracurricularly, however, is fantastic!

As a scholarship recipient, to what extent are you grateful for the support you received?  What are your thoughts on how you might one day give back to the University of Chicago?
I can not begin to express my gratitude for receiving this scholarship.  This scholarship has afforded me with the opportunity to study at a university of such a high caliber. Being the child of hard working parents who did the best they could to give me everything I needed, I still knew at a young age that college would be out of their reach. For the opportunity that this scholarship has given me I simple want to give a heartfelt “thank you.”

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