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Undergrad Maria Alvarado taking things step by step

Maria Alvarado is majoring in Russian and international studies. Photo: Matt Suby

Maria Alvarado likes to say that she is tackling her future in “little steps.” If her steps are little, then the rest of the planet must be standing still.

Alvarado, a 21-year-old senior from Española, N.M., is majoring in Russian and international studies and minoring in economics. Her three-page resume includes the Thomas R. Pickering Undergraduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship, the University of Denver Martin Luther King Scholarship, work experience at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, travel to 11 countries for school and leisure, and mastery of two foreign languages: Russian and Spanish.

And let’s not forget Alvarado’s myriad volunteer activities, or the grant she recently received for a project she designed to connect schools in Denver with schools in Azerbaijan. Her GPA is 3.94.

With experience like that, one might expect Alvarado’s demeanor to be tough-as-nails, or that she should be, at the very least, completely sleep deprived. Instead, Alvarado is all smiles and eagerness.

“Maria has an exceptional spirit,” says Assoc. Dean of Admission Margret Korzus, who met Alvarado at a recruiting event when Alvarado was a high school senior. “She sparkles with intellectual curiosity. She is engaged, connected, not afraid to take risks, not afraid of hard work. More important is her passion for her career path. She soars. She has beauty, passion and an inner toughness.”

Alvarado says she’s not sure where her path will lead, but the next step is graduate school. She’s applied to Tufts, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and Princeton.

“I think I’d like to be an ambassador just about anywhere in the world,” she says with a smile. “Sometimes I think about secretary of state, but I’m just going to take it in little steps.”


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