Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas
School: Philander Smith College
Major: Biology, Pre-Med
Placement: The Office of Rep. Jim Costa
Maria was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala and immigrated to Little Rock, Arkansas at the age of two with her mother. She matriculated through Little Rock public schools and graduated from Parkview Arts/Science Magnet High School. Currently, she attends Philander Smith College majoring in Biology.
As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipient it was difficult to find higher education institutions in the state that would support her financially, due to the ineligibility to receive federal monies. This led her to become a community organizer, where she was able to inform, organize and empower the community through civic engagement in Arkansas. As a result, in the spring of 2018, Parkview’s NJROTC program inaugurated the Maria Meneses Cadet Excellence Award. In the spring of 2019, the Arkansas State Legislature passed legislation that grants some dreamers in-state-tuition.
Maria has aspirations of attaining a degree of Doctor of Medicine and Masters of Public Health and becoming an elected official to ensure all Arkansans have a better quality of life through medicine and inclusive policy. As a CHCI intern, she hopes to acquire skills and resources to help her reach these goals.