August 30, 2023

Maria Given is passionate about helping others, and about living a life of service. When the pandemic began, she worked with Roseville Area High School (RAHS) students and teachers to help deliver food to students all over the district.

Enthusiastic and high energy, Maria has benefited from a good education, and she feels most at home in school environments. She dreams of a teaching career, and helping to prepare others for success by expanding their horizons and opportunities.

The Power of Education

Originally from the Philippines, Maria lived in poverty her first few years; however, her experiences in school were a bright spot, and she excelled in the classroom. She knew that education provided an opportunity to better herself.

Maria’s life changed when she was adopted and moved to Roseville, Minnesota. “My parents were key figures in facilitating my interest in life-long learning,” she remembers. “And my first elementary school, Brimhall, really opened my eyes to the diverse number of students and the ways of being in the world.”

She adds, ”My (adoptive) mom works as Special Education teacher for Roseville Area High Schools (RAHS). She has over 20 years’ experience, and she’s been a key figure in inspiring me to become an educator myself. She has such a genuine love for each one of her students. I look up to her so much and hope that I can grow to be an educator who is as passionate as she is.”

Century College: A Welcoming and Diverse Environment

Maria chose Century College for the affordability and flexibility of classes. “I switched my degree often,” she says. ”From Liberal Arts to Social Work, my pathway exploration at Century also helped me to self-actualize my wants about my future career.”

Eventually, she decided that a career in Elementary Education would provide the most benefit for her future. Maria met her advisor, Alanna Xiong, and credits her for helping get her on track. “Alanna gave me documents that provided a rough plan on what courses I should take for the degree I’m pursuing. I still keep these documents with me when I organize my semester schedule,” she adds.

Along with her classes, Maria enjoys the College’s warm and diverse environment. “I like that Century College has students from all walks of life,” she says. ”Also, I feel that I can get more out of my education when I hear viewpoints from people who come from diverse backgrounds’

Outstanding Student Award (Education)

Maria works hard, both inside and outside of the classroom, and is passionate about her career goals. With a GPA of 3.9 and multiple achievement awards, she is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and earned a Century College Outstanding Student Award. In addition, she’s a member of the Education Pathway Committee/Board at Century.

This past summer, she interned with the Stillwater Summer Success program, an opportunity she found through networking with Erik Anderson (a member of the Education Pathway Committee).

Giving Back and Looking Forward to a Career in Teaching

Maria is looking forward to getting her Century College degree, and plans to transfer to Metro State, and earn a degree in Urban Education. She will likely take a year off after her time at Century in order to earn the money for Metro (without taking out a loan.) Eventually, she will earn her Master’s in Education, as well.

She dreams of becoming a teacher and possibly working in the Children’s Shelter of Cebu in the Philippines. “Over the years I’ve also had such good teachers, who’ve all contributed something positive in my life, that nurtured my learning and education, and I plan to give back,” she says.

“Overall, Century College’s Elementary Education Degree has set me on the right path. It has been such a journey full of growth and development in terms of my passion and wants for life. I’m so glad I came to Century College.”


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