Estefania Chavez, who is serving as an intern in the state District Attorney General’s office in Greeneville, has been honored as “Student of the Block” for the sixth block at Tusculum College.
Chavez was presented the award during a brief ceremony on Tuesday, March 2. The award is presented each block by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize students for academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community.
The award is a “great experience and a great surprise,” Chavez said. “It is a great honor to be nominated, selected and recognized as part of the Tusculum community.”
Chavez, a native of Honduras, is a senior political science major with minors in international business, economics and civic engagement. Her commitment to serve others is evident in her campus activities that include the Student Government Association and the Bonner Leader student service organization.
Her career aspiration is to become a lawyer and work internationally. This interest in law stems from a lifelong passion to become an attorney, a great interest in international affairs and a love of debate.
Currently, Chavez is an office intern for the Third Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Greeneville, working with Cecil Mills and David Baker. “I love working in that office and attending (General) Sessions Court,” she said. “I’m learning a lot, and it’s a great experience.”
Chavez counts International Economic Development and International Business as two of her favorite courses. “I enjoyed learning about the business and how it works in the global environment,” she said. “The courses showed business in a global context outside of the United States.”
Professors Dr. Antonio Bos, Dr. Troy Goodale and Robin Fife have been major influences on her academic career, Chavez said. “They have always been there for me, advised and guided me when needed. I can count on them for support and have learned a great deal from them.”
Arriving at Tusculum in 2006 excited and ready for her college experience, Chavez was familiar with the school as her older sister, Alejandra, is an alumna. A student who seizes the opportunities presented to her, Chavez soon became involved in many campus activities.
She has served in the Student Government Association as a member of many committees to enact change to better campus, as secretary/treasurer of Tusculum’s chapter of the Alpha Chi national honor society and as a member of the women’s cross country team.
Chavez is a dedicated member of the Bonner Leader student leader organization, a nationally recognized program that requires all participants to serve at least 100 hours of community service per semester. In her nomination of Chavez, the organization’s faculty director Robin Fife wrote, “Estefania is deeply involved with at-risk youth in the Juvenile Court system and works with the Truancy Board in Greeneville. She is serious about her work and obligations but has a fun-loving spirit and joyful attitude.”
In her free time, Chavez enjoys running, spending time with friends, attending church activities at Tusculum Baptist Church and the Point, going to Bible study and translating for the Spanish-speaking population in Greene County.
When asked who she admires the most, Chavez quickly answers “my mother and father,” Sergia and Augosto Javier Chavez. “My mother works really hard to be the professional she is today and has done a great job as a mother – I want to be just like her,” she continued. “She’s hard working, a great Christian and if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My father is hard working and always wants the best for our family … he puts his kids first and is a great father.”
As she looks toward the future and graduation this May, Chavez recalls favorite memories of her college experiences including the many friends she has made, trips to Washington and Boston for Bonner Leader conferences, spring break adventures with friends, making T-shirts to support the football team during games, sledding in the snow, serving as a member of student government and being part of change in the campus community and running as a member of the cross country team.
Her advice to college students who may not be enjoying their collegiate experience is to “become more involved and make your own fun on campus. You can’t stay in your room – you need to open up and be willing to participate in the campus activities. There is always something to do on campus.” Her advice to rising seniors is to “make the best of your senior year because these are the best years of your life and where you make your memories. The friends you make in college will be your friends in life.”