Karen Orozco

Karen Orozco

Dean's Scholar

College of Education
Child and Adolescent Development


Why did you choose your major?

Originally I was a nursing major and a ChAD minor. I chose ChAD as my minor because I absolutely love children and also enjoy working with adolescents. This is most likely due to the fact that there are a great multitude of teachers in my family. After volunteering at a hospital one summer and discovering that I did not particularly enjoy the medical field and also having taken some riveting courses in ChAD, I changed my major to ChAD with a new minor in psychology.


What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Receiving this particular award indicates that all my effort and hard work has paid off. Furthermore it shows that not only am I proud of my successes in school but that my dedication to my academics has been acknowledge by both the university and my professors.


Who was instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic success?

There are various people who have been instrumental in my life. This of course includes my parents who have not only supported me with whatever it is I desire to do with my life but they have also pushed me to become a better person both academically and in life in general. My sister has also been instrumental in my life because she is my number one supporter and admirer. I always strive to do better in everything so that she will follow along the same path. Finally many professors and teachers have contributed to my academic success. I would especially like to thank my honors advisor, Professor Maureen Smith, whose Adolescence course really inspired me to change my major to ChAD.


Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape who you are today? And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?

One adversity that I have had to overcome in my life was being born to illegal immigrants. Starting out early in life my family was extremely poor and we had to live on less. My parents worked hard and went back to college. They are now successful adults and have helped me get to where I am today.


What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

In order to encourage or inspire other students to attain academic excellence I would tell them that although it may not seem like it currently, all that dedication to one's studies does ultimately pay off. Not only will that degree allow you to obtain a better job and be more competitive in this time of economic hardship but there is also a sense of personal gratification from having accomplished something, and that is one thing that no one can take away from you.


Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?

When I look into the future, about 5-10 years from now, I would like to have obtained my Master's in Education so that I can become a school administrator.  There are so many things wrong with the current school system and although I am just one person, I would like to try and hopefully make a difference. If I can at least inspire one child to better themselves, all this work that I am putting myself through will have been worth it.


A few words from her nominating professor:

Karen is, in addition to her outstanding regular course work, undertaking an honors project ChAD.  Her interests and project will focus on immigrant youth.  Karen's career goal is to become a high school biology teacher and to serve as role model for Latinas in science.

-Maureen Smith