DCTC Scholar: Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz
Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz, former TRIO/SSS student

TRIO student and Campus Lion awarded full-ride scholarship to Bethel

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz was 6 years old when she moved to Minnesota from the city of Axochiapan in the Mexican state of Morelos. Today, Maria is a 20-year-old sophomore at Dakota County Technical College. She’s earning her Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) from the Energy Technical Specialist program and is on track to graduate in May 2019.

Maria is a Dreamer, one of nearly 700,000 people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.¹ She is very engaged on the DCTC campus. She’s an active member of the Campus Lions Club and the Multicultural Student Leadership Association (MSLA). She also belongs to TRIO Student Support Services.

TRIO SSS and a full-ride scholarship to Bethel University

Xuong Tran, a TRIO Student Support Services advisor at DCTC, reported that Maria was awarded an Act Six scholarship from Bethel University, which defines Act Six, an Urban Ventures project, as a “full-tuition, full-need leadership and scholarship program that prepares and empowers emerging urban leaders to make a difference on their campus and in their communities. Act Six is the only urban leadership award that offers full scholarships.”

“Maria is an exceptional student and I enjoy working with her,” Xuong said. “She is the reason for her own success. In TRIO, we helped motivate her to reach her highest potential when it comes to her studies and transferring to a four-year school. We told her, ‘Believe in yourself.’ Her struggles in life helped her learn that nothing is impossible—and this was her way to success. Maria is the epitome of what a TRIO student can achieve through hard work and determination.”

“I have not gone back to Mexico ever since I got to Minnesota in 2006. But I do remember some things like my grandma walking me to school everyday, the big house and backyard that we had, and how our house would always be full of people and laughter every single day. I loved that.”
Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz, Energy Technical Specialist Major
Dakota County Technical College

Maria described the Act Six application process as in-depth and rigorous. “The process has three phases,” she said. “First, you have to write four essays. I liked that part because I’m a decent writer. If you’re accepted, you go on to the next phase, which is choosing three of the six schools participating in the program.”

Maria selected Bethel University, Augsburg University and the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. The three other Act Six schools are Bethany Lutheran College, North Central University and Concordia College.

“You are assigned to a group with seven other students to work on a collaborative project,” Maria said. “Our project was determining how cutting high school programs affects parents and students.”

Act Six: Essay 1

by Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz

Phase 3 involved an overnight stay in a dorm on the Bethel campus in St. Paul. Maria related that she took part in a group interview and a one-on-one interview during her stay, remembering how she had to be on her toes the whole time because everything she said and did was monitored by university facilitators. She also participated in a group discussion titled, “Divided by Faith.”

“TRIO offered me a lot of support during the scholarship process,” Maria said, adding that Xuong provided guidance with her essays. “TRIO looks out for you on more than one level—they help you succeed academically and they also assist with life problems. Their ultimate goal is making sure you graduate from college.”

Maria starts at Bethel in the fall of 2019. She will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electrical Engineering. Her long-range career plans are centered on making progress in the field of green energy.

“I want to build something or be part of something that helps the Earth,” she said.

Campus Lions at Ronald McDonald House

Every year, members of the DCTC Campus Lions Club travel to Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis to prepare home-cooked meals for the families of patients undergoing treatment at nearby Children’s Minnesota and U of M Masonic Children’s Hospital. Brett Kolles, English faculty and Lions Club faculty co-advisor, reported that six Lions, four students, including Maria, and two instructors, visited RMH Minneapolis Friday, February 6, 2019.

“Volunteering as Lions at Ronald McDonald House each year is one of our most popular events,” Brett said. “Preparing and serving dinner to very appreciative families is both heartwarming and fun.”

Brett noted that volunteer activities foster teamwork and camaraderie. The relationship between the DCTC Lions and RMH Minneapolis exemplifies the rewarding outcomes of collaborative efforts between service organizations.

“The people at RMH don’t choose to be there, and they are very thankful to have a hot meal,” said Maria, who is a student in Brett’s Composition class. “I got a warm feeling cooking for them. The experience was amazing. I would love to come do this every single day if I could.”

More about the Energy Technical Specialist program…

The Energy Technical Specialist Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program was developed with funding from a U. S. Department of Labor High Growth Job Training Initiative grant. The program’s goal is training students for careers in energy technology fields.

Due to the increasing age of the current energy workforce as well as the rapid growth of renewable energy, experts project a great demand for skilled workers in the energy industry.

The Energy Technical Specialist A.A.S. degree conveys the skills and knowledge you need to find success in both traditional and renewable energy fields. The degree prepares you for work (primarily as a technician) in the following industries:

  • Electric power generation
  • Natural gas distribution
  • Ethanol production
  • Biodiesel production
  • Wind turbine maintenance
  • Solar energy

DCTC offers additional nuclear energy maintenance technician training that meets Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) standards. Read more…

More about Maria…

Maria is a 2017 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, where she played volleyball and ran the mile in track. She also participated in Project Success and College Possible.

She works while attending classes at DCTC, holding down two jobs while carrying 17 credits this semester. She’s completing an internship at the Xcel Energy Service Center in St. Paul, putting in 20 hours a week. She also serves as a hostess at Champps in Eden Prairie, which adds another 15–20 hours to her weekly schedule.

One word that describes your experience at DCTC:

Maria’s mother and father, Grisel and Enrique, are managers at JonnyPops, a maker of all-natural frozen treats in St. Louis Park. She has three siblings, Saola, 15, a 9th grader at Roosevelt, Ketzali, 10, a 5th grader whose Aztec name means “gorgeous or precious,” and Tonalli, 7, whose Aztec name means “little sunshine.”

When she’s not working or studying, Maria enjoys Aztec folk dancing. She has been a member of Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue for 13 years.

“My mom joined the traditional dance group first and then my dad joined,” Maria recalled. “At first, I hated it, but now I love it.”

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz Q & A

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz

Why did you choose your career path?
For a long time, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a legacy scholar as a senior in high school and energy was one of the areas we explored. I noticed our group was all men. I knew then I wanted more women represented in the field. There are so many things you can do with green energy. The world is changing so fast.

What do you like best about the DCTC Campus Lions Club?
The Lions offer incredible service opportunities for anyone. The club definitely gives you a different perspective on college life. 

Three words that describe you as a college student:

Why should students participate in student clubs, organizations and activities?

  1. You’ll get exposure to the different things you can do outside the college.
  2. You’ll expand your network beyond the campus.
  3. You’ll meet new people and make lifelong friends.

What do you like best about the Energy Technical Specialist program?
The instructors stress applying what we learn in the labs to the real world. I think that’s huge. The hands-on, technical education I’m getting at DCTC will help me quite a bit when I start the more theoretical classes at a four-year school. I also have amazing classmates. I’m the second youngest and one of two females in the program.

“Maria has been a joy to have as a student. She is a self-motivating and intelligent woman. She is reliable and shows a genuine eagerness to learn. I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.”
Joe Mollner, Energy Technical Specialist Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Maria Navidad Sanchez Resendiz 21 Answers

  1. Favorite season: I like winter when we have fresh snow and the trees are all white with snow, but I also like summer because you have can have bonfires and can explore more outside.
  2. Favorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): I would say sunsets; I don’t know if that counts, but watching the sun change colors is the most beautiful thing. [DCTC News: Sunsets count.]
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: I find all sports interesting.
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: It’s called quetzal bird; this is the bird that represents our Aztec dance group
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Outside of the country I would say India, I want to experience their beautiful culture; in the U.S. I would say Colorado in the summer because of the trails and beautiful sunsets they have.
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas!! Not just because I was born on December 24, but because this is where the whole family comes together, and the kitchen is filled with love and laughter and also lots and lots of food.
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Narwhal; scientific name Monodon monoceros. They are 13–20 feet long and weigh 1.5  tons; its size is relative to a bus; I like this mammal because it reminds me of an underwater unicorn.
  8. Favorite actor or actress: I will say Will Smith. He just feels real—what I mean by this is he lives life with meaning; even though he has everything, he is still super humble and values what he has.
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Don’t really have one.
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Everything happens for a reason.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: I would say the human body.
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Snakes! Just thinking about them gives me the chills.
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: I would say Extraordinary Homes, a show on Netflix that shows all these amazing houses designed by top architects around the world. It’s so amazing how you can break the rules of what someone thought would be impossible to build something so unique and extraordinary.
  14. Favorite all-time movie: I love romance movies so I would say Ghost, a 1990 film.
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: One thing that I want to do is give back to all of the people that helped me get to where I am; because without them, I would have no guidance and support in life. The people in my life are the ones who motivate me to always keep going—and to never give up.
  16. Most valuable material possession: I have a ring that says “truth” and the reason why it has so much value to me is because if I want my sisters to also be true to who they are than I also have to display it.
  17. First thing you would do if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: OMG! I would cry, but I would buy my parents the house that they always dreamed of. I would also donate money to my high school for their language classes, arts and remodel the school so that in the summer the students would not be dying of heat, because we don’t have air conditioning.
  18. Dream occupation: I want to be an electrical engineer to inspire young women that anything is possible; I want to show them that they can also part of a moment that can change the world; along with that, I want to help people around the world find the resources they will need to achieve their goals.
  19. Person you would most like to meet: This is a tough question. I would say Ellen Degeneres. I admire her so much because she is always looking out for people. She gives people everything she can—and I want to be like her.
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: A skill that I would like to master would say breakdancing. If I had another life, I would like to be a professional salsa/hip pop dancer.
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: One of humankind’s greatest challenges I would say is being grateful for what we have and are, and to value our lives.

¹ Learn more about DACA and the Dreamers by following the links below:

What’s Up with DACA?
DACA Update: Renewal Applications Accepted

Learn more about the Lions Club at DCTC by contacting:

Brett Kolles
English Faculty
Campus Lions Club Faculty Co-Advisor
Lions Club Blog
DCTC Lions Club on Facebook

Erin McCrorey
Mathematics Faculty
Campus Lions Club Faculty Co-Advisor

Learn more about TRIO Student Support Services at DCTC by contacting:

Cori Robinson
TRIO Student Support Services Advisor

Xuong Tran
TRIO Student Support Services Advisor

Learn more about the Energy Technical Specialist program at DCTC by contacting:

Joe Mollner
Energy Technical Specialist Faculty