Cabrillo senior Kristina Maldonado uses love of aquariums to drive her forward
When times are dark, Cabrillo High School graduate Kristina Maldonado is often able to find light in the glowing tanks of aquariums. And so, she will embark on her path of becoming a marine biologist, attending Allan Hancock College with plans of transferring to California State University, Monterey Bay.
Ms. Maldonado discovered her love for aquariums at Cabrillo High School.
“I joined a class called Advanced Aquarium Operations my junior year,” she told the News-Press. “Before I joined the aquarium I struggled with my mental health more than ever. Being in the aquarium gave me something to smile about everyday and every time I was there.”
Being involved in the Cabrillo High School Aquarium also taught Ms. Maldonado about leadership. For example, she led tours for younger kids who visited the aquarium. Ms. Maldonado also performed every task throughout the aquarium.
“Knowing that what I’m doing betters the aquarium as a whole, whether it’s as small as cleaning an exhibit or as big as creating a new exhibit” fulfills the future marine biologist.
When she isn’t leading tours, cleaning exhibits or creating new ones, Ms. Maldonado likes to spend time at the beach with friends and family. She is the first in her family to attend college.
“I feel proud of myself. I hope I inspire my younger siblings to go to college as well,” she said.
Ms. Maldonado also has desires to connect with her roots that stretch back to the Philippines.
“I want to visit [there] the most because my grandpa and his siblings were born there,” she said. “I would love to see our culture first hand.”
Her taste buds for now are giving Ms. Maldonado a picture of the Philippines. She told the News-Press that her favorite dish is a plate of chicken adobo over steamy, white rice.
As a student at Allan Hancock, Ms. Maldonado will have time to enjoy home-cooked chicken adobo before transferring to California State University, Monterey Bay. Allan Hancock is about three miles away from Cabrillo High School.