As a Dean’s Award for Service winner, Maria Mbodj exemplifies exceptional contributions of service to the university, fellow students, and the larger community.
Mbodj moved to the United States from Senegal in 2014 and within two years, learned English, passed the ACT and SAT, and was accepted into the University of Oregon.
As a Duck, she didn’t slow down for a second.
She was co-president of the Black Student Union, a marketing intern for the Athletics Department, and president of the Sigma Delta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first historically African American Greek-lettered sorority for college-educated women.
The business administration major with a minor in media studies also supervised the initiation and implementation of education programs and cultural activities geared toward Black students.
She is a Diversity Excellence Scholar, and the recipient of the Black Women of Achievement 2020 Service Award.
She served as a member of the digital team, as an art director, and as a model for the UO’s fashion design magazine Align. She also tutored students in French—one of three languages she speaks fluently.
She also spent many nights serving as a trained volunteer for the Egan Warming Center, a community coalition of several agencies working to ensure homeless people in Lane County have a safe place to rest indoors during extreme cold weather.
Mbodj said her values are strongly tied to community, respect, and love for all.
“When I think of myself as a Duck, I get a feeling of greatness,” she said. “I am always inspired by the students, the staff, the faculty, and the alumni. The unwavering support I have received from my Black counterparts throughout these years have made me into the leader that I am today. Once a Duck, always a Duck. #BlackLivesMatter”
—Sophia Prince, Class of 2021, and AnneMarie Knepper-Sjoblom ’05, Lundquist College Communications