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  • Writer's pictureLa Voz Latina

Mirna Araujo

Escrito por: Dulce Ortiz 🇬🇹

Headshot of  Mirna Araujo. (Diana Rivera)

Through Mirna Araujo’s unique journey thus far, the graduating senior believes that one of the

best ways to get by is to share your problems aloud because it helps you realize that sometimes

they’re not the biggest thing ahead of you.

Araujo attended school in New York before joining the military and serving on active duty from

January 2017 to June 2020. In that time, she was stationed in Texas and later deployed in Europe

for a year. The deployment allowed her to live in places such as Poland, Bulgaria, and Germany.

Additionally, Araujo says that oftentimes, she doesn’t think about her Dominican roots and notes

that she never felt held back by the stigmas people would put on her various identities.

“I’m a Hispanic, Black woman, so everybody assumes that I have all these struggles and all these

shortcomings,” said Araujo. “I just live my life as a normal person...Maybe it has been I just

didn't notice [the stigma] because I don't dwell on it.”

After her return to the U.S., Araujo came to Maryland to pursue a college education. At the same

time, she began a career with the Maryland National Guard. Originally, she went to UMD for a

degree in biology, but, as she puts it, “A STEM major is not for the weak.” Maintaining an all

day, every day mentality on homework while balancing her duties at work was often

overwhelming for Araujo.

She also found the learning experience challenging because most of her professors were

researchers, so when asking for help, the level at which they’d assist would still be too complex.

Araujo then switched to a Spanish degree, where she felt more comfortable with the workload

and at ease with more welcoming professors. Their support allowed her to find the strength to

graduate from this program.

Although she wasn't involved in extracurricular activities, she admired how UMD has several

educational programs and affinity groups.

In her life, she’s found herself to be her biggest inspiration and finds pride in her ability to adapt

to the things that life throws at you.

“You know, there were times where I felt like I couldn't do it and it felt like it was just too much.

But eventually, I figured it out.”

Upon graduation, Araujo plans to work towards being commissioned as an officer in the military.

Later on, she wants to apply for a master’s in public health and eventually attend medical school.

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