Student Spotlight: Maria Paz Alvarez

Doris Duke Scholar Maria Paz Alvarez

Maria Paz Alvarez is originally from Concepcion, Chile, but moved to Raleigh, N.C. when she was eight years old. She spent a lot of time getting to know NC State since her father worked in the Department of Natural Sciences. Her parents, both forestry engineers, inspired her to be enthusiastic about science and marine ecology.

Alvarez absolutely loves marine life and hopes to make a positive impact on the way humans interact with marine ecosystems, as a Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology major. She also hopes to inspire young Hispanic students to be passionate about wildlife preservation and looks forward to a lifetime of conservation advocacy work!

As part of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at NC State, administered by the University of Florida IFAS and supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Alvarez spent her summer in Western North Carolina working with endangered turtle species.

How did this experience impact you?

This opportunity brought the importance of conservation into a real-life setting. I felt that I became more aware about how our actions contribute to the decline of certain species.

How did this experience prepare you for your future career?

This experience strengthened my willingness to “think outside the box” when creating questions related to biological research.

What did you enjoy most about this experience?

I really enjoyed the ability to work with animals hands-on.

Would you recommend this experience to other students?

Undergraduate research is a wonderful way to dive into the world of field research and get some experience under your belt before graduation.

Any advice to incoming students?

Come in with an open mind and formulate questions that you would like to pursue in a research setting.