Maria Socorro Leon Pena

Paradise Valley Community College

Maria displays an extraordinary level of leadership. She has such a developed sense of responsibility that when opportunities arise for her to assist, Maria pursues them without hesitation. She has received leadership training through a variety of programs, including the MOSAIC Student Diversity Training Program, the national LeaderShape Institute, the DACA Allies Training Program, and the Peer Mentor Training Program. This involvement has provided with a unique skill set that enables her to advocate for those unable to advocate for themselves.

Maria has a genuine passion for Positive Social Change. Whether speaking to a large audience or a working as part of a team, Maria is able to to communicate succinctly and convincingly. As a member of Aliento in Arizona, and organization dedicated to fighting for immigrants rights, Maria has travelled to Washington D.C. to speak to members of congress to discuss solutions to DACA. She was also interviewed by the National Immigration Forum about the value of immigrants to the United States.

Maria displays outstanding character and integrity. Maria's passion, energy, compassion, maturity, and thoughtfulness is a model to everyone around her. Once such endeavor is as volunteer youth leader in the Young Life program at her church. In this role, she mentors young girls in high school to become "better versions of themselves". Always eager to serve those around her, Maria has an infectious "can-do"attitude that inspires those around her.

Paul Dale
Paradise Valley Community College

Personal Statement

Ever since the initial threats of termination towards a program titled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), I began speaking up in my public speaking class by using each of my speeches to create awareness. In addition, I attended a DACA Allies Training which provided me with the necessary tools that I would need as an advocate. As a DACA recipient, I am aware that Dreamers are targets of oppression within our current immigration system in the United States. Because I know what it feels like to live with the anxiety of being in the middle of this fight for our civil rights, I decided to use my voice in Washington D.C. by driving with a cohort of Dreamers and allies from Arizona to Capitol Hill. I had one on one conversations with members of congress, reminding them of the urgency that is in the air for a permanent solution. When I came back to Phoenix, Arizona, I co-lead with an acquaintance to organize a canvassing event where we asked Paradise Valley registered voters to contact their representative David Schweikert to express their support for dreamers.

Maria Socorro Leon Pena
Biology with an emphasis in Pre-med: Class of May 2019
written 2018

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