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Alumni Spotlight // Scholarship


Maria Navarro



The 2016 Buchananan Award Recipient
An Interview with Maria M.Navarro `16


She dreams of joining the Peace Corps after graduation and hopes to pursue history research in Columbia, where she spent her childhood. An exceptional student and dedicated sorority sister, graduating senior Maria M. Navarro was recognized for her achievements with the 2016 Russell A. Buchanan Award this week.

In this special Q&A, we talked to Navarro about her time at UCSB, what happened when she heard the news of the Buchanan Award and what she plans to do with the scholarship.

What drew you to study at UCSB?

The campus. I really love the architecture and its proximity to the ocean. You really can’t beat its beauty.

What made you decide on history as your major?

I have always been fascinated by history. I have a twin brother, and we used to pretend we were Simon Bolivar or other historical characters and enact battle scenes. In a more academic sense, I think of history as something which affects the everyday actions that we take. History defines who we are, how we think, and how we view the world. Furthermore, I enjoy exploring archives and different sources; I find it fascinating to read an old book or travel to really old historical sites.

What would you like to do after graduation?

I dream of going to the Peace Corps after graduation. I would like to work with disadvantaged communities in Cartagena, Colombia, since that is where I lived during my childhood. Cartagena is also home to one of the oldest Spanish fortress in Latin America, so I would have an opportunity to learn more about the city’s colonial period.

What was your reaction to receiving this award? What was your family's reaction?

I feel honored to receive the Buchanan Award. When I received the email, I was actually doing some grocery shopping, and I jumped out of excitement and dropped my gallon of milk. Thankfully, it did not spill. My parents were both very proud of me, and they promised to take me out to dinner.

What will you do with the scholarship award? How will it help you?

I will donate half of my award money to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. The other half will go to paying off some of my interest from my college loans.

How important is it for students to interact with alumni mentors?

It is very important. I am part of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. and I have sought out alumni help, whether it is for job opportunities, for resume checks, or for feedback on essays. I do not think that I would have performed as well in my undergraduate career if it were not for these supportive mentors.

What makes you proud to be a Gaucho?

What doesn’t make me proud to be a Gaucho? The Gaucho community is great and resilient. I have seen this community rebuild when we were most fragile, and it makes me proud to be a part of this family.


About the Russell A. Buchanan Award for History Majors
The Buchanan Award is presented to a graduating senior majoring in history or history of public policy, in recognition of superior scholarship, undergraduate achievement and potential for graduate research and success in the field.
For more information on Russell A. Buchanan, click here: http://www.ucsbalum.com/programs/scholarships/buchanan

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