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Maribel Antunez-Uriostegui: Multicultural Mentor

Published August 15, 2022

Student Spotlight: Maribel Antunez-Uriostegui helps cultivate a sense of community and connection for multicultural students

By Mimi Calhoun | For The Post

Maribel Antunez-Uriostegui, a senior studying political science pre-law, has a long list of accomplishments going into her fourth year at Ohio University. From being a John Newton Templeton Scholar to serving her third year as President of the Latino Student Union, Antunez-Uriostegui is no stranger to campus involvement and hard work.

Originally from Mexico, Antunez-Uriostegui is a first-generation American and first-generation college student. She grew up in the U.S. and is based in Atlanta, but said she came to OU because of the campus and community. Antunez-Uriostegui also received a scholarship through the Office of Multicultural Success and Retention (OMSAR).

The John Newton Templeton Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship for multicultural students focusing on leadership, academic excellence and campus and community involvement. Antunez-Uriostegui is a peer mentor with OMSAR and its LINKS support program for first-year multicultural students. While participating in the program during her first year, Antunez-Uriostegui's mentor inspired her to take on the same position the following year.

"I learned a lot from her (Antunez-Uriostegui's mentor), and she was a super great guide to have that first year navigating colleges as a first-generation American, first-generation college student," Antunez-Uriostegui said. "All of that was really helpful. I wanted to return that favor, and I absolutely love the job that I do. I work with students and help them from high school to college and make sure that they feel comfortable at OU."

Antunez-Uriostegui recently received the Descutner Burnier Peer Mentor award, given to peer mentors who have gone above and beyond to help their mentees achieve great things.

"I had amazing mentees that I absolutely loved working with," Antunez-Uriostegui said. "They were super sweet, and they have gotten super involved on campus, and that's something that I love to see."

Antunez-Uriostegui is also heavily involved with the Latino community. After joining the Latino Student Union (LSU) as a general body member during the fall semester of her first year, she was appointed event coordinator during the spring semester. Antunez-Uriostegui became president of the organization her sophomore year and has held the position since.

"I really connected with a lot of the students that were on the board and other members," Antunez-Uriostegui said. "It was great seeing other people that had that same cultural heritage, and we were able to have those shared experiences that we would only understand with each other."

LSU is a Latitno-based organization that promotes unity and identity at OU. Most programming with the organization focuses on advocating for Latino students, creating community and connection, and bringing the culture to campus. While some may have grown up immersed in the culture and others may have been disconnected, Antunez-Uriostegui enjoys how LSU can be a space for either person.

"I think to our organization, everyone can connect with it (the culture) as much as they want to, and I think that's really lovely," Antunez-Uriostegui said.

On top of her peer mentoring award, Antunez-Uriostegui also received the Latinx Heritage Award; this is given to a student that has shown commitment to their community.

"It was great to receive that (award) because it reaffirms the work that I'm doing within the community, and it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing things," Antunez-Uriostegui said. "It's also nice to receive some recognition for the work that I do because it is a lot sometimes but it kind of balances out because it is stuff that I enjoy so much."

One of Antunez-Uriostegui's biggest pieces of advice for students is to join student organizations and step out of their comfort zone.

"It's hard at first, but it's amazing the people that you meet, especially for multicultural students," Antunez-Uriostegui said. "I would say join organizations that promote cultural heritage. I think it's so great to connect with others on that cultural level, and understand heritage and the cultures that we come from. It also just creates such a great sense of community."