Maria Gavaldon Rojas is a third year political science major at San Francisco State University. At the age of 7, Maria and her family migrated to California from Durango, Mexico in search of greater opportunities. Her parents had high expectations for their children and knew that coming to the U.S. would help them reach those aspirations. Maria has involved herself in many clubs and organizations both on and off campus in order to achieve her goals and to make her parents proud. In the spring 2017, Maria was an ASI Project Connect intern at San Francisco State where she helped do outreach for students K-12 in underrepresented communities. She also took part in ASI food pantry that gave weekly meals to any SFSU students in need.
Maria is excited to be part of Bay Area legal non-profit, OneJustice for her DreamSF Fellowship placement. At One Justice, Maria is part of the pro-bono legal team where she does outreach for the “Justice Bus,” a program that brings free legal assistance to low-income communities in isolated and rural areas of California. Maria will learn more about criminal and immigration law, which aligns well with her interests for post undergraduate studies. She hopes to one day be one of the few undocumented lawyers the Latino community can relate to and confide their personal stories with.
Maria grew up hearing that “there is always someone who knows someone that can help you get what you need.” Hearing this, she carried with her the importance of making connections with people everywhere you go. Being away from her family in Mexico, Maria found that playing sports was an excellent way to make new friends and connect with different people. Maria enjoys attending sporting events with her parents because they have built strong bonds with people they’ve met there, and she uses opportunities like this to build new connections and spread her knowledge about community resources with them.