Her leap of faith was toward Corvallis

Meet Halli Barrios, student alumni ambassador

Where did you grow up?
In southern California, in a city called Rancho Cucamonga; It’s quite a mouthful. It’s 30 minutes from Disneyland!

Why OSU?
Funny enough, OSU wasn’t my first choice; it fell into my lap when I got the acceptance letter and scholarship package. I learned about all the research opportunities here, and I liked how science-oriented the university was, so I flew up the very next week to check it out. When I got here, I was on a science tour, and the campus in the spring was unlike any college in California ... just breathtaking ... I took a leap of faith and decided to come here and am still very happy with my decision.

How close are you to graduating, and what’s next after that?
I graduate spring 2019, and after that I am going to be in a post-bacc program for a year before medical school. I plan to become a surgeon one day and work in pediatrics.

What has been your favorite class at OSU?
I have taken so many and they all were really amazing. My favorite, though, would probably be sociology of public health. I learned about current problems and trends in public health around the globe, as well as how people are starting to try to eradicate those problems. Learning about what I can do today to affect tomorrow really stuck with me.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned outside classes?
I think the most important thing I learned outside the classroom is to know what you don’t know. Whether it’s about your strengths, weaknesses, whatever it may be, not being afraid to say I don’t know, and seeking out answers, is a big part of life.

What’s your favorite place to hang out on campus?
I have a great office space in the Student Experience Center with a lot of amazing people, so I usually am there. In the spring, I am always outside, especially when the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom.

What’s your favorite place to hang out in Corvallis?
It’s more about who I am with. I have people in dining centers that I work with who make that space one of my favorites, but I also can go downtown to a restaurant and feel the same love and community. If I had to pick, I love being downtown at the park by the river.

What kind of support do you get from scholarships?
I have a couple grants based on academic performance, but I actually get most of my support from financial aid. Growing up, it was always a fear about money, as I knew we didn’t really have the money for out-of-state tuition. If OSU hadn’t given me scholarships and aid, I wouldn’t be able to attend here, so I am truly blessed for that.

Of all the things you could choose to get involved in on campus, why the Student Alumni Ambassadors?
My story with SAA is funny because I actually got nominated for an interview without me even knowing what it was. But when I learned what it was, it fit right into what I wanted, because I really wanted my time on campus to focus on giving back as soon as possible.

What’s one thing you think would surprise alumni from 10 or 20 years ago about what it’s like to be an OSU student today?
The first thing that comes to mind is the lack of parking! On a serious note, Oregon State in the past 10 years has almost doubled in size and the resources and ways for us to connect to each other — such as new buildings and Ecampus classes — are tremendous.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to a potential readership of 210,000 Beaver alumni and friends?
Thank you to all of you for paving a pathway for us because without you we wouldn’t have all the improvements, investments and amazing things around us. Don’t forget your alma mater! You can always connect with a student, visit a professor or attend a sporting event. There is so much out there on our campus; don’t forget to come back and replenish your Beaver pride!

Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) is associated with the OSU Alumni Association and is dedicated to enhancing the connection among students past, present and future. SAA members coordinate a variety of events and initiatives that integrate students and alumni across Beaver Nation. For more info, visit osualum.com/saainterest.