"Winning is something that's going to happen if you're passionate about what you're doing, and you're able to impact a person's life."
Student Maria Alfaro is a winner. Double majoring in political science and Spanish, she's a regular on the dean's list, a champion on the University of Houston Forensics Team and a dedicated mentor to other students. For her all her efforts, Alfaro was recognized by the prestigious Pi Kappa Delta society with their newest honor "Brightest Star Award."
"My mother and family have brought me up saying that if you're going to do something, you do your best and you excel," she said.
The daughter of a single parent and the first in her family to attend college, Alfaro has worked hard to overcome obstacles. She is no stranger to awards, having been honored with countless regional and national forensics awards. "The Brightest Star Award" recognizes excellence in forensics, academics and community service.
"A lot of people have helped me get here. I've had a lot of help along the way from people I never would have expected, people who believed in me, who didn't have to," Alfaro said. "I want to give back what they have given me. If I can touch someone's life, inspire someone, then maybe they'll be here speaking to you about an award they've received. That essentially is my happiness."
Alfaro's goals are to attend law school and become an immigration attorney, a profession, she says, will make her entire life about giving back to her community.
"I can't let anyone down," she laughs. "I have to make sure that I live up to the name of the award."
Rising Stars are part of what's happening at the University of Houston.