College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

"Young Bear" Mayra Ceja honored for service to her community

February 2, 2007

Mayra Ceja, a senior environmental economics major, has had a busy four years at Cal.

As well as being a full time student, she has worked at the College of Natural Resources since her freshman year, founded the Phi Nu Xi Sorority, volunteered for CalSo and the “fresh faces” student blog, and spent ten to fifteen hours per week working to help under-served high school students get into college.

This month, Mayra's dedication is being rewarded with the Young Bear award. Established in 1979, the Young Bear award recognizes exceptional achievement in community service.

Mayra CejaTo Mayra, volunteering is a way to give back to the community that has given her so much.

Growing up in Merced, Mayra routinely saw youth who became involved with alcohol and drugs because they didn’t have the support they needed to become successful. When she came to Berkeley, she decided to confront this issue and began to mentor students both in Berkeley and Merced and educate them about the college admissions process. In particular, she enjoys working with young women who have grown up believing education is unattainable. Along with her Phi Nu Xi sorority sisters and the Girls, Inc. organization, she connects girls with female leaders in their community to provide them with positive role models.

Mayra says that her success is due to “the dedication and support of my family,” with whom she maintains a close relationship. She admits “I still talk on the phone with my mom every night.” When she graduates this spring, she plans to work for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree in business. She also hopes to have time to take a vacation, which will definitely be well-earned. Congratulations, Mayra!

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