Maya Portillo: Living Fearlessly

Who are you?

Maya Portillo

How old are you?


Year and Major?

ILR, 2017

Where are you from?

Munster, Indiana

Favorite Quote?

“Adventure is out there”

Favorite Color?

Lavender or Fuchsia

Favorite Movie?

Pan’s Labyrinth

Favorite TV show?

Arrested Development


Places you would like to visit?

Cuba because it is the place stuck in time, Paris for obvious reasons, Barcelona, Italy and Greece.

What do you do on campus?

My primary role on campus after being a student is working with the Public Service Center. I’m the program assitant and a tutor for the Upward Bound Program. The Upward Bound program helps underrepresented high school students get to college. It’s funded by the Department of Education. I also just joined Alpha Chi Omega; and I’m on Peer Review Board.

Favorite things about attending Cornell?

The people. I lived in Indiana and went to Indiana University for my freshman year. In Indiana there isn’t much variation in viewpoints and the community. Here, everyone comes from all over the country and the world, therefore everyone has different views on everything. It’s so interesting and I love learning about people’s backgrounds.

Dream job?

I have two dream jobs. I’m interested in education policy and so for me, there’s two-folds to my dream job. One of them would be to be a superintendent because I feel like I could affect change and be effective a local scale. The other one dream job would be working in DC reforming education policy.

What are your hobbies?

I love watching movies. I love reading for pleasure especially non-fiction, autobiographies, and fiction. I like spending time with my friends, and doing spontaneous and adventurous things.

Who is your role model?

My older sister. She’s 23, lives in Chicago and is a film technician. I admire her because… she lives the dream. She lives the life she wants to live without any fear.

Any advice for new students?

Since I was a transfer, initially I wanted to get very involved with the University because I already felt that I was a little behind. I immediately got involved; I joined clubs, I got a job on campus- all on top of schoolwork. And it was a shock to me when I couldn’t balance everything they way I could in high school. My advice to new students would be to realize Cornell is a whole different ball game and you really have to prioritize.