While tragedy led Cali Mauri toward studying environmental sciences at Paradise Valley Community College, it was the beauty of the world she discovered throughout her recent travels that reshaped her path.
After her sister unexpectedly died at the age of 20, she thought she wanted to become a medical examiner or pathologist. However, after taking a year off between high school and college to travel while grieving, Mauri discovered a deeper connection to the ocean, to nature, and conservation efforts as a whole.
“I had always loved nature. I was a vegan and was already working on becoming zero-waste through conservation, so those things already interested me,” she said. Living and working on a farm in Hawaii, then traveling to French Polynesia where she learned about the coral reefs, changed the trajectory of Mauri’s ambition.
Now in her third year at PVCC, Mauri is working towards her Associate in Arts with emphasis in Sustainability & Environmental Studies. She plans to continue her studies at Arizona State University to earn her bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences as well. She has found incredible success at PVCC, covering nearly all of her tuition expenses through Honors scholarships, FAFSA funds, and a Pell grant. In addition, Mauri works in PVCC’s Student Life and has made it her personal mission to spread the word on PVCC’s Puma Perks, which include free snacks for students on campus. She also has been instrumental in providing support around campus wherever needed.
“Cali is so incredibly focused on making sure the student experience is a positive one that Student Life has been able to improve every aspect of our operation, including our pantry, our campus events, and our overall quality of student support,” said Mike Ho, Student Services manager. “I admire her work ethic and her maturity. She is a very natural leader who people gravitate towards. She genuinely enjoys working with people, which is why she's a perfect fit at PVCC.”
A self-described uber-extrovert, Mauri loves talking to people and finds human interaction very fulfilling. “Working with others in student life has been a great distraction when I’m feeling my grief or anxiety, it’s a great outlet,” she said, adding that she has found a kindred spirit in boss Mike Ho. “Mike is the most human boss I have ever had. We instantly connected on a person-to-person level. We are hyper compatible and jive so well. He has shown me a lot of grace,” she said, encouraging others to get involved in and around campus.
As for the future, Mauri’s not sure where she will land. On a broad level, Mauri said she just wants to have an impact, whether that be sitting in a cubicle developing ways to get climate information to various people or working hands-on in the field. “I just want to help educate others in a way that they can understand. There are so many strategies to help people understand climate change and how the earth’s oceans and lands are connected and impact one another.”