Meet Our Summer Intern, Maria!

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I originally grew up in Maracaibo, Venezuela. There was (and still is) a lot of political unrest. My parents decided it would be better to move to a new country, where the opportunities would be better. We moved to Baltimore, MD for a couple of years since my dad had a fellowship there with Harbor Hospital and John Hopkins. Following that, we moved to a very small town in Wisconsin. I struggled a lot there, people weren’t welcoming towards me and my family. When I graduated high school, I wanted to get out, see the world, make new friends, so I picked the University of Minnesota. At first, I wanted to go to medical school (lol) but I took a Sociology 101 course that reshaped some of my general understandings so I decided to Major in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance with a minor in psychology. My biggest accomplishment would definitely be graduating from the U. My parents left everything behind for me to be able to do that, so when I actually received my diploma in the mail, it was like my possibilities opened up. I love volunteering for watch/Advocates for Human rights, reading crime/mystery novels, and working out. My absolute favorite thing in the world is coffee and a good book. 

Why did you apply to be an intern for Okon?

I applied to be an intern at Okon for not only the experience but also because I am passionate about working out and the wonders it can do. I picked up tennis in 6th grade and started lifting weights the summer after 6th grade, and it completely changed me, not just physically but emotionally. Also, Angie and the team are super fun and have helped me regain that emotional strength that I lost for a few years. 

What are you most excited about during your internship? What do you hope to learn/accomplish?

What I am most excited about in this internship is making new connections, and helping others in their fitness journey. It is so unique to everyone, and looks so different, that being able to help others is my main goal. Also learning social media skills, leadership, and learning to be more open and sure of myself. I can be a bit shy at times, so I’m hoping to learn to branch out. 

Who is someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself? Why?

Someone that inspires me the most is my mom. She has so much courage and strength. She left her entire career behind (she was a doctor) for me to have a better life. She has looked at adversity in the eye and told it to f*ck off. People have treated her differently, have underestimated her intelligence due to her very thick accent. She came from nothing, and managed to make a very successful career and then give it all up, move to a different country, with two kids, one on the way, and managed to become a citizen and pass the test by herself. She’s also 5ft tall (like me) and has so much strength and patience. I always ask her for advice, and she has always bee someone I look up to. 

What are your long term and short term career goals? 5 years, 10 years?

Short term goals, pass the LSAT, get into a law school. 5 years, be working at a firm, 10 years, maybe partner at a firm, with kids, and five dogs (I love dogs). 

What is your favorite thing about Okon Fitness?

My favorite thing about Okon is that the program is designed for you, what you want, and where you are at. If you take it seriously, it works. I feel so much better, and like I can control this aspect of my life with help from someone that knows the uniqueness of the fitness journey and has a story that is relatable. It makes me think that if they can do it, then I can do it too. Plus the girls are great, and it’s always great to have support during the process.

What is your favorite cheat meal?

PIZZA!!!!!!!! I love pizza so much. Anything with bread, huge bread gal. 

What is your favorite workout/exercise?

Jumping squats and burpees

What is your favorite book?

My favorite book of all time is Dracula by Bram Stoker, classic. Once I get into a book I don’t put it down for HOURS. I will sit and read through the night. 

Dracula - Wikipedia

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