When she decided to come to Carnegie Mellon in the fall of 2010, Maya Geleroff experienced some major culture shock. Growing up in Miami, Florida, she was used to speaking Spanish in everyday conversation, kissing people on the cheek to greet them, open personalities, and most importantly, near constant heat and sunshine. Naturally, Pittsburgh was a shock. It’s rainy and cold, and Maya notes a serious lack of good Cuban food. But coming from an almost entirely Hispanic area, Pittsburgh’s diversity was a welcome change.
Maya now majors in Economics and minors in Business Administration. She works as a teaching assistant for the required (and infamous) Computing @ Carnegie Mellon class. When she’s not doing homework or working, she loves to cook delicious foods and bake even more delicious desserts. And like every other college student, she enjoys just hanging out watching Netflix when she can. She also feels that Carnegie Mellon has helped her explore her Hispanic and Jewish cultures. She’s taken several classes that explore her heritage, joined some cultural communities on campus, and made close bonds with other students of the same heritage.
To help handle the stresses of life, Maya turns to dancing. She’s been doing it so long that she can’t even remember when she started — she’s been dancing as long as she’s been walking. Unlike several of her friends from home, Maya has never aspired to be a professional dancer. For her, it’s a lifelong hobby that stems from a love of performing and the feeling of happiness that dance ignites in her. Maya loves the feeling of flying that comes with dancing your heart out, although she’s not a fan of the full-body soreness that follows the next day. She’s participated in Dancer’s Symposium four times, and will be dancing in the show for a fifth time this semester.
Dancing wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies — like any sport, it comes with a risk of injury. Maya has torn the same ACL twice, and both times were dance-related injuries. The first time can actually be seen on old YouTube dance videos since it happened during a school pep rally. Despite these potentially devastating injuries, Maya never quit dancing. She overcame her pain so she can continue doing what she loves.
In addition to her other activities, Maya also works as a Resident Assistant. She was an RA for Fairfax during her sophomore and junior years, and now she’s the RA for Shirley Apartments. She decided to become an RA because she really loved her dorm freshman year and wanted to create a similar, engaging environment for other residents. According to Maya, the best part of being an RA is watching reluctant residents slowly blossom and become immersed in the on-campus community. She also thinks hosting events is really awesome. She recently held a very successful Resume Blitz Workshop catered by Rose Tea Cafe. But being an RA isn’t all fun — it can be difficult when you have to lay down the law when residents break rules.
Last semester, Maya took a break from Carnegie Mellon and went abroad. Since she’s fluent in Spanish, it was an easy choice to go to Spain. She chose to study at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. To Maya, studying abroad was like a crazy vacation — she got to do a lot of traveling with both new and old friends. An unexpected side effect of studying abroad was a newfound appreciation for her Carnegie Mellon education. Her university in Spain was very disorganized; nothing like what she was used to back in the USA. But despite her haphazard schooling, Maya absolutely loved her time abroad.
Now that she’s back at Carnegie Mellon for her senior year, Maya has to start focusing on post-college life. While she’s not 100% sure of what she wants to do after graduation, she’s thinking about a career as a business analyst for a tech corporation. But even though she has plans to move on to bigger and better things, Maya will always miss her home at Carnegie Mellon — especially living in a tiny radius close to all of her friends.