Maria Garibay Campos – January 2015 Scholar of the Month
CHCI 2014 Scholar
Hometown: Aurora, Colorado
Degree: B.S., Accounting
School: Metropolitan State University of Denver
Maria immigrated with her family to the United States 15 years ago from Mexico in search for the American dream. It was a difficult start; they had no home, no food, and no understanding of the English language. With the help of community members and great faith, they managed to improve their lives. Maria is determined to be the first in her family to receive a college education to be able help people receive quality and affordable health care while also creating financial opportunities for minorities to be successful in life.
Maria’s parents always emphasized the importance of education, stressing the value of working hard, never giving up, and taking advantage of opportunities. Right after finishing high school, Maria had the goal of pursuing a nursing degree. Through internships and volunteer work, she worked in clinics and provided health care and culturally sensitive services to the Latino families. For Maria, achieving goals is not a given. In 2013, she was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease. Making educational decisions while dealing with her medical issues was extremely difficult, but she persevered and graduated from the Community College of Aurora with her associate’s degree in nursing last spring 2014. She was then accepted into the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing, but became ill and was hospitalized the same day that she was going to start classes. Her resulting surgery and recovery forced Maria to take a medical leave of absence, as doctors gave her the advice to avoid sick patients and environments with higher risks of infection. Since quitting has never been an option for Maria, she is now back on her feet. With the help of her mentors, she chose a new path and she decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Maria’s experience and resilience has taught her how to adapt and change as she now sees that both accounting and healthcare can make a great impact on people’s lives. Although her medical condition has made her to pursue a different career, she is still passionate about bridging the gap between underrepresented Hispanics and health care. So she wants to take the best of both worlds and help Latinos not only become financially stable, but provide them with access to affordable health care. As a Latina, she hopes to bring a new perspective to the field of accounting and financial services. Maria also plans to one day start her own nonprofit to develop the capacities of underserved communities and increase their access to health care and financial aid.
Maria has learned to be relentless and optimistic despite of any situation. She says, “My health condition has made me an even stronger person with a lot more faith. Even when I had thoughts of giving up, I now believe that anything is possible with hard work and dedication”. Maria is grateful for the opportunity to be a CHCI Scholar and the impact it can have to continue higher education: “The CHCI scholarship has been a great blessing helping me to achieve my goals not only for myself, but for my family and most importantly, my community”.