María Marroquin
winners 2011 Maria Marroquin attended Dominican University. She majored in Political Science with the intent of attending law school and becoming an immigration attorney. Maria’s personal experiences have inspired her to become an outspoken activist for immigration reform and the DREAM Act. Maria is originally from Lima, Peru and came to the United States with her family at the age of 13. Although she identified as an American and excelled academically in high school, she faced obstacles in gaining access to higher education. Accepting the responsibility to fight for access to education not only for herself but also for students like her, Maria co-founded and DreamActivist Pennsylvania. Through these outlets, Maria has organized and participated in various pro-immigration and empowerment panels, rallies and conferences that empower communities to stand up for their rights. In reference to higher education and the American Dream, Maria said: “I strive to obtain a higher education, because I know it will give me the tools to fight for a better future for everyone living in this country. John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" To me, the American Dream means having the opportunity to contribute back to the country you consider as your home…Regardless of what other people may say, I still feel in my heart that I belong in this country. I look forward to the future when I’ll be given an opportunity to adjust and legalize my status. I envision a future filled with hope, continuing to fight for my dream of advocating for the rights of others. In many ways, this is what the true American Dream is all about; it is the opportunity to stand up for yourself and the rights of others.