MARIA JOSE LARA

MARIA JOSE LARA portrait
  • Academic Advisor, International & Area Studies

Biography

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, International Studies, University of Utah. Project: Emphasis: Latin American
  • Bachelor of Arts, Spanish Teaching, University of Utah. Project: Minor: Linguistics

Biography

Maria completed a B.A. in International Studies with an emphasis in Latin America Studies and a second B.A. in Spanish Teaching with a minor in Linguistics, both at the University of Utah. Although she calls Salt Lake City home, she is originally from Ecuador and has spent some time travelling through Europe and the Americas.

Her passion for education, languages and different cultures have led her to pursue a career in higher education promoting international studies. Before coming back to her alma mater, she worked at Salt Lake Community College in the department of School Relations as a Recruitment Advisor. She has years of experience in marketing, taught Spanish/ESL to adults and children, and has collaborated with different educational institutions and community organizations throughout the valley.

 When she is not working with students or in the community, you can find her enjoying the outdoors, improving her cooking skills or planning her next trip!

Languages

  • English, fluent.
  • Spanish, fluent.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Eastern Asia
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Western Europe

Advising Philosophy

My personal advising philosophy is one of Teaching Orientation and the Mentoring Approach. I believe Advising is Teaching, by interpreting institutional degree programs, policies/procedures, academic expectations, I help students understand them and I provide them with the resources available. I serve as an information agent connecting students with opportunities and services to promote a deeply engaged learning experience. I am committed to teach students how to problem solve and recognize the impact of their choices on their personal, academic and professional objectives. 
 
My mentoring approach is based on empowering students with the skills necessary to meet their goals. I do this by developing a strong rapport with them, creating a safe, inclusive, trustworthy, honest, non-judgmental, challenging and supportive learning environment, encouraging them to listen to their internal voice and to value integrity. Advising to me is a comprehensive process where I help students recognize their values, purpose, passions and talents through self-reflection and syntheses to connect their words and ideas to broader concepts, possibilities, opportunities and resources.
 
I meet students where they are at, by adapting my style, technique and strategies to foster understanding and responding to their unique needs. 
I aim for every interaction to be intentional through a thoughtful and committed practice. I facilitate a discovery process; over time students get a better sense of who they are, how they learn, where they fit in, who they are going to be and how to do their best.