A Dream Come True Meet the Spanish athlete and artist living in Fairbanks
by Marina González Mazo
My name is Marina González Mazo. I’m from Logroño, La Rioja, Spain and I am studying Fine Arts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The story of how I ended up here in Alaska is a little bit curious. I never imagined that I would move to the other side of the planet, nor that it would move to the coldest state in the U.S.
It all started when I was nine years old. I tried my luck at the stands in the fair, trying to win some toys with a rifle of dubious aim and a couple of BBs. That led me to practice Olympic shooting with carbines. I joined a club, and later was able to compete at international events with Spain’s National Rifle team.
As my graduation from high school was getting closer, I understood that there were not many options for me if I wanted to pursue college while being a professional athlete. However, destiny brought me the opportunity to try and get an athletic scholarship in the USA. I worked really hard to grow in my sport, at the same time I was studying for the SAT and TOEFL tests all on my own. All of this while I was still in school and preparing for graduation. After two years of efforts, I got admitted to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. It has been a big challenge for me, and I am very proud of my achievement. However, I couldn’t have done this without the patience and support from my family.
My case also created a little bit of a fuss in the Spanish shooting community since I am the first ever in Spain to get a scholarship to play this sport, which makes me a pioneer for young people who want to follow my steps. I have the opportunity to represent the university rifle team and to expand my skills as an athlete. This lets me study and get a Bachelor of Fine Arts, which I really enjoy, and allows me to prepare to become the artist I want to be in the future. Alaska brings me unique inspiration and resources that only its natural scenery can offer. Every day, I learn from new experiences, cultural exchanges, and the beautiful natural views. And, even though the winter months are as hard as people had warned me, the community around me provides the warmth and energy that I need. It is a dream come true.
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