For many, immigrating to the United States to start a new life and attend college in the United States is a remarkable dream. Maria Lorena Morales Ferrebus has made it a reality.
She had to learn English first. She did. Challenging herself through dual enrollment and AP courses during her senior year after moving to America just two years prior, she graduated high school with straight As. Proving dreams come true with discipline, courage and determination, Morales received several USF and community scholarships.
A resident assistant, Columbia Restaurant flamenco dancer, Corporate Mentor Program participant and climate activist, Morales will soon graduate with a degree in business analytics and information systems and a minor in environmental policy.
Morales’ devotion to the environment began after witnessing the effects of oil spills on her hometown, Maracaibo, Venezuela. At USF, she has found her passion and learned how she can make a difference advocating for the planet while encouraging people to take climate action. In the past year, she has traveled to Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee to lobby for environmental concerns. She has also attended conferences addressing sustainability, carbon pricing, climate action and climate policy. Notably, she has been an invited panel speaker for two conferences.
One of her proudest accomplishments at USF is her founding of the Climate Action Coalition, a student organization with 88 active members that has hosted lobbying trips, professional speaker series and environmental awareness campaigns. Ultimately, Morales’ objectives is the building of sustainable, resilient grids for communities with the capability of reducing CO2 emissions and increasing quality of life.