Penn GSE CMSI

Maria Ahumada

Maria Ahumada was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is 19 years old, and a junior at Florida International University (FIU). Maria is majoring in English with a minor in Education. Although she was born in Colombia, she grew up in Queens, New York, where she spent most of her childhood. During her undergrad years she has worked as a front desk assistant at the Women’s Center and the Center for Leadership and Service at her school. Working at these offices has given her various opportunities to grow as a leader and find her voice. She has had the chance of being a peer leadership consultant and working with other students at FIU to develop and improve their leadership skills.

Starting at a very young age Maria was a bookworm, but as high school came along she found herself not having much time to read. Entering FIU she began to take literature courses, which changed her life. The voices on the page spoke to her, of her life and her experiences. She has gained a huge interest in historical fiction and literature written by multicultural working-class women. She entered FIU with the idea that she would be a high school English teacher because graduate school was not something she imagined in her future. It seemed impossible because of her financial situation at home, and also because of her sense that graduate studies seemed too remote and the process of applying too difficult. Being chosen as a fellow for the HSI Pathways program has given Maria hope and confidence that she will become a Professor at a University, and one day will inspire Latinx students to do the same.