Mariebeth’s desire to stay close to home is what brought her to Kent State. She decided to major in Public Health with a concentration in Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety, but she hopes to pursue another degree in Radiation Therapy. When she first got to Kent, she didn’t know anyone on campus. She began looking for mentors and found one in Sarah from the Supplemental Instruction Program. Sarah helped Mariebeth with housing, tips and tricks of acing interviews, and how to study in order for her to do well in her classes. She found that the program and the people in it have aided with her academic and college successes so much, that she later joined the Supplemental Instruction program as an SI Leader in order to be a mentor for others, like Sarah was for her. During her time at Kent, Mariebeth joined the Honors College and took advantage of Kent’s study abroad program, where she went to South Korea for a semester. She is also a founding sister of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Incorporated, the first Latina-based sorority on campus. Mariebeth also discovered great mentors, one being her sorority advisor, Yvette Mendoza, and another being the previous Supplemental Instruction coordinator, Stephanie Jain, both whom are always there for her when she needs help.
Mariebeth’s mother and sister are who really inspired her to attend college. Her mother and sister raised her and instilled in her the importance of getting a college education. While Mariebeth’s mother was working hard to support her family, her sister was there to take care of her. Life was not always easy for the three of them. Money was tight and, even though her mother had a BSN-RN, it was from the Philippines and did not allow her to get the same types of jobs here in the states. Mariebeth remembers going to the Salvation Army for Christmas, where she learned the importance of giving back to the community. “Sometimes I am simply happy to just even own a bed or have a room to myself, because back when I was growing up, there was a time when my family couldn’t even afford a mattress to sleep on. When I think back to those days, it makes me even more motivated to finish my degree and better my community by helping people who are lost and/or struggling.”
Even though her mother could not always give her everything she wanted monetarily, she was always there to provide for her in every way she could, especially in cooking. Mariebeth talks about how whenever she visits home, she always leaves with several Tupperware containers of her mother’s delicious home cooking. Mariebeth’s perseverance and resilience that she learned from her mother and sister are what allow her to overcome obstacles in her life. She was able to grow up with such strong women and saw how they always faced challenges with a brave heart and a go-getter attitude. Her advice to students is to “never give up, even though you think you’re out of options, there’s always something out there.” She believes that having people support you in your goals is “one of the most valuable things you can have.”
In the future, Mariebeth hopes to be working in a hospital as a Dosimetrist helping people with cancer and treating them with radiation therapy. She would like to make enough money so that one day she can buy her mother a house in the Philippines in order to thank her for her years of endless support and love. What she will remember most about Kent State are the wonderful people she’s met and the relationships she’s built. “Those are the moments that I will remember...you’re never alone and that there are people in the background rooting for your success.”