Maria Kelley

Maria is an undergraduate student earning a bachelor’s degree in an individualized major: Law, Social Justice and the Family. At UConn, she has been the President of Creating Caring Communities—a student organization that advocates and supports independent, foster, and homeless students—a Pack Ambassador, and a member of the Human Rights and Action Learning Community. She has participated in the Leadership Legacy Experience, a program that invites promising University leaders into a leadership enhancement experience with alumni/ae as mentors.

Outside of UConn, Maria has interned for the Youth Catalyst Team and Be A(Part). Both of these organizations provide mentorship to students who seek to be leaders in service-based social justice efforts. In these pursuits, Maria has had a special interest in women’s rights and grassroots organizing. She has said that “as a woman who is a first-generation student, Latinx/Pacific Islander, and in the foster care system, I am dedicated to giving back and empowering my community in the most prosperous ways possible.” Her other work includes being a DCF Youth Advocate.

For her advocacy, she has been honored with the Cohen Student Leadership Award that is given to students “who have demonstrated a significant and active commitment to eliminating bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination,” and was featured on Media Voices for Children. For academic excellence, she has been awarded the Alma Maldonado-Cordner Book Scholarship and the Leonard Bonner Scholarship.

Upon graduating, Maria will continue to be a grassroots activist, practice holistic and trauma-informed strategies, and use her voice to support her community. She will additionally seek to further her education in human rights and social policies that impact women and child welfare.