Maria Garcia-Manzano

Maria Garcia-Manzano

    Give a brief bio about yourself/ your background/ your history.

    My family immigrated to Canada for my siblings and me to have more and better opport­unities than back home in Mexico. I arrived in Canada at an early age, so I have completed most of my education here. I wanted to pursue post-secondary education to make my parent’s sacrifices worth it. Through schola­rships and by working full time during the summer, I have worked towards my Bachelor of Science for the past three and a half years. Once I complete my BSc, I will be the first person in my family to graduate from university.

    While at university, I have always tried to be involved within the school community. I have joined the Psychology Club as well as the Gender Empowerment Collective. I joined both groups because I believe their work to support students is essential. Currently, I hold executive positions in both. In addition to student clubs, I joined the local student paper because of my love for writing. I became a junior reporter for the Quill during my first year of university. By my second year, I became the Assistant Editor in Chief. I also believe that apart from being involved with our school, we also need to be active within our home communities and volunteer our time to significant causes. I try to live an ecolog­ically conscious life, and I decided to join groups in my community with like-minded individuals. I joined the Bee City Committee in Brandon to promote the health and importance of pollinators to our environment and a waste diversion program to educate my community about proper waste diversion techniques.

    What education have you taken?

    I graduated from Vincent Massey High School in 2018. This spring, I will be graduating from Brandon University with a four-year Honours Bachelor of Science with a major in psychology and a minor in chemistry.

    What accomplishments are you proud of?

    I am proud of all the scholarships and awards I have received during my time at Brandon University. While I am proud of my academic achievements, I am also proud that I have maintained a high academic standing while working a part-time job and being involved in various student club activities and volunteer opportunities. Currently, I am most proud of my Honours thesis research on first-generation immigrants of Brandon, under the supervision of Dr. Gadbois and Dr. McKenzie.

    How did you become interested in your field of study?

    As a first-generation Mexican immigrant who came to Canada when they were six years old, growing up in Canada was difficult in the beginning. There were language and cultural barriers that my family had to overcome in order to establish ourselves as Canadian citizens. As a country, Canada has adopted a multic­ulturalism approach, and I believe we aim to represent all cultures present across different occupations. However, I nonetheless realized from a young age that there was a lack of repres­entation of the Latin community in white-collar jobs. In Manitoba, the province where I have lived since first coming to Canada, very few Latin people are involved in legal occupations. To my unders­tanding, this trend can be observed across all the different provinces. While the field has become diverse, I believe Latin repres­entation is still missing. I want to become a lawyer because I want to diversify the field and increase Latin repres­entation.

    What is your philosophy in life?

    I believe that we all can reach our goals, no matter how impossible they may seem. Though we may sometimes fail at the first attempt, staying determined and authentic to ourselves is important. Our mistakes do not define us, and we can always try again.

    Where do you see yourself in the future?

    While I see myself helping people from various ethnic backgrounds with my law degree, a significant component of how I see myself in the future is primarily helping the Spanish-speaking community navigate the legal world of Canada. I want to help the Spanish-speaking community flourish as outstanding citizens and residents of our country. I also hope to serve as an encour­agement for more Latin people to enter the field.

    In one sentence, how will you #BreakTheBias?

    I hope to #BreakTheBias by becoming a lawyer and encouraging other Latin women to pursue a legal education.

    Nominator’s Comments:

    I am so pleased to nominate Maria Garcia-Manzano for an International Women’s Day Award. I have known Maria since the fall of 2020 and have taught her in two courses and now I am co-supervising her thesis research.

    Maria is a conscientious and effective student. She is motivated, organized, and genuinely interested in her studies. She has received several scholarships and has received consistent, good grades in her university studies (psychology major; chemistry minor).

    Maria is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish, and is a first-generation immigrant to Canada. She is an engaged student, and also an engaged community member. For example, she has worked for the Quill, served on the BU Psychology club executive, and the BU Gender Empowerment Collective. She also has an ongoing record of community involvement starting in high school (Heritage Days and Youth in Philanthropy contributor) and continuing while at BU (Brandon 4R Waste Ambassador & Bee City Committee).

    Maria is a role model for her peers given her academic and community engagement. She is, and will continue to be, a wonderful representative of our department, faculty, university, and community.