The Provost Award was established in 2014 to honor an outstanding graduating student who transferred to the University of Arizona from an Arizona community college. Criteria for the award includes perseverance and commitment to academic studies, contributions to the UA community and above-average scholastic ability, citizenship and leadership.
2017 Provost Award Recipients:
Maria Smith will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Information Science from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. She is a non-traditional first-generational transfer student from Rio Salado Community College in Mesa, Arizona. Maria was born in upstate New York but moved to Charlotte, North Carolina with her family as a teenager. Following her high school graduation, she served in the U.S. Air Force for four years, including three in Aviano, Italy. Maria is married and mother to a three-year old daughter named Gisele. Professionally, Maria has worked as a paralegal at the US Attorney’s Office in Tucson, and currently holds a position with C.A.T.S Academics, where she tutors student-athletes.
Maria has always been dedicated to education, community, and justice, devoting much of her time to research and analytics. Her drive and passion for research has afforded her several opportunities to gain hands-on experience. She has worked in two research labs where she learned to complete experiments, qualitatively code interviews, and ethically interact with human subjects. Coupled with this, she participated in guided research while enrolled in the Poverty in Tucson Field Workshop, where she and classmates collected and analyzed over 200 interviews to better understand the barriers encountered by impoverished households receiving benefits from community agencies. Data collected from this research was used to assist local government and non-profit agencies better serve underprivileged households in Tucson.
Lastly, Maria was selected to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC) preparatory program, a dedicated year-long research program at the UA, developed to provide research opportunities, mentorship, and graduate school guidance to underrepresented students. Following graduation, Maria will continue in the program, and complete her research project. Maria plans to apply to graduate school in the fall, where she aspires to earn a doctorate degree in sociology.