Normally, the College of Arts and Letters honors its nominees for Outstanding Graduating Senior with a banquet. Since that’s not possible this year, we’re letting the public get to know the honorees here on our website.
This year’s Outstanding Senior is Daniela Rivera Aguayo. She was born in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, and moved to Arizona when she was 10. She came to NAU from Sahuarita, where she graduated from Walden Grove High School. She is a double-major in Spanish and international affairs with a minor in Arabic.
Daniela has lived up to the ‘international’ part of her international affairs major while at NAU. She studied abroad in both Morocco and Paris, and has also earned a variety of honors including the Lumberjack Scholar Award and the Outstanding Student Award in Arabic.
Daniela says she started her time at NAU undecided on a major. Her first course in world politics changed that. “That class opened up my world, showing me the political systems of the world, and a new way in which to look at it,” she said.
Daniela’s coursework for her Spanish major allowed her to explore her native language and culture. As part of her Spanish drama course, she took on a lead role in a production of the play Resguardo Personal, something she said she had never done before. Her studies also allowed her to further examine the U.S. Latino culture and better understand her own experiences.
Daniela said her experiences at NAU helped her learn to accept herself. “At times, I felt alone, and like I wasn’t capable of taking on challenges,” she said, “but the support I received showed me that being myself was okay.” She said her professors, classmates, and friends played a big part in that, and she will miss them all greatly.
Daniela plans to continue her mastery of Arabic, and possibly add to her list of languages. Her teachers say she also has a working knowledge of French too. “I also plan to help the immigrant community in Arizona through many different ways,” she said.