This is Maribel Arias.

Maribel Arias is an assistant professor of biological sciences. She has been working at Vanguard for the past three years and recently hired as full-time faculty. Her family is from Michoacán, Mexico and immigrated to the United States when she was nine years old. Maribel grew up in Santa Ana, California, passionate about academics and saw the importance of making her parents proud. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in biology and subsequently received a phd in molecular biology afterwards at University California Irvine.

“I’m a first generation college graduate. The family that I do have in the United States did not graduate from college. I did not have a role model to encourage me in my education. I have always enjoyed microbiology learning how complex the human body is and seeing God in it.”

Maribel grew up roman-catholic participating in catechism. She tries to instill that same faith in her family and children. Despite being first generation Mexican-American, Maribel believes it is important to carry on her cultural lineage to her children specifically with the Spanish language. Her family resides in a three-generational household in Riverside. They enjoy indulging in Maribel’s Mom’s carnitas tacos, which is slow roasted pull-pork.

“I met my husband in the midst of completing my phd and had my first child during that time as well. After having my kid, I ended up taking a break from school after defending my thesis, in that time; I had my other two children. So in total I have 3, 2 boys and my baby girl. That time also showed me how important education is.  Education will be with you forever and can take you places that you could never imagine.”

Maribel recognizes that many do not have the opportunity to receive a collegiate education. She encourages incoming, current and future students, to embrace their time in college and work hard. 

“When I think of Hispanic Heritage Month or Latino/Latina Culture…I think about hardworking people. People who are willing to put in the work when given the opportunity. I believe it’s important to continue that legacy.”

Vanguard is thankful for Maribel’s heart for teaching biology and excited to see her extended journey in our lion community.