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Student Spotlight: Maggie Avila
 
One of the most-fulfilling things that Maggie Avila has done since becoming a student at the University of Houston is volunteer at Texas Children’s Hospital.

Avila, a junior majoring in human nutrition and foods, spent her Saturday mornings last summer playing with young patients receiving care at the facility in the Texas Medical Center. She hopes to possibly do it again this upcoming summer.

“On the floor where I volunteered, there were mainly kids who had seizures or really couldn’t leave their room, so I had to go to their room and entertain them,” she said. “Some of them would have birthdays and we go and decorate their room. I love kids. It was a lot of fun.”

For the past two school years, Avila has been a student worker for UH Dining. In that capacity, she markets the various meal plans to students and helps inform them of what is offered. Throughout the year, she represents UH Dining at various functions and events, helping to answer questions and pass out information at tablings.

She is scheduled to graduate in December 2014. When she does, she hopes to land an internship, then become a dietitian at either a hospital or school. That wasn’t her original plan, however, after graduating from North Shore High School in the Galena Park Independent School District.

“I came to UH as a biology major, with the idea of possibly going to medical school,” Avila said.
She soon changed her mind and decided to pursue a print journalism degree, even volunteering her time to help with the newspaper class at her old high school. But the uncertain future of the print news industry led her to research other possible careers. When she came across the human nutrition program at UH, she knew she had found her niche in life.

“I’ve always been interested in being healthy and working out and having a good healthy lifestyle, so I went to talk to the advisers and they told me more about the program and I quickly realized it was for me,” she said.

Avila said the decision to go to UH after high school was an easy one. She didn’t want to move away from her family, and she wanted to attend a good university. UH fit both criteria.
“I really liked it when I came to visit the campus. It felt very welcoming,” she said.