Mariah Victor shares her experience trading Hawaiian sun for Oregon rain

By UO Student Lili Wagner

Mariah Victor is a recipient of the Hawaii Ducks’
Duane Cargill Memorial Scholarship.

During her high school years in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mariah Victor could be found all over campus. On any given afternoon she could be playing volleyball in the gym, volunteering with the Lions Club of Honolulu or National Honor Society around the grounds, studying with the mathletes in a classroom, or managing the women’s basketball program in the locker room or on the bench. Involved and motivated, Victor was a natural choice to receive a Duane Cargill Memorial Scholarship from the University of Oregon Alumni Association’s Hawaii Ducks chapter.

And since arriving at the University of Oregon in September, Victor has made herself at home in the Walton dorm complex, creating a supportive network of close friends and embracing the Oregon lifestyle.

“It was kind of an easy transition,” she said. “It’s nice to be on my own.”

Victor spends the school week immersed in her studies. Coming to the UO in hopes of specializing in pre-veterinary studies, she has decided to pursue a major in biology through the College of Arts and Sciences. She said, “I love animals. My family has a lot of animals—not me personally, but family members. I just think about them and wonder why they’re sick and how they work.”

She also has a love of chemistry, admitting, “It’s challenging at times but I really do like it. Love it, kind of.”

On campus, Victor is involved in the UO’s Hawaii Club, run through the Holden Leadership Center. In light of the club’s recent Taste of Hawaii event, she waxed nostalgic on Hawaiian dishes. “Spam and rice! Everyone thinks Spam is gross, but they just haven’t even tried it.”

Victor supplements her busy schedule with afternoons of relaxation, which for her means shopping, visiting the Eugene Farmer’s Market, seeing movies, and hiking in the area. She laughed of Oregon’s cool weather, “I’ve never worn a sweater while hiking before!”

Aside from the weather, the biggest difference between Oregon and Hawaii Victor has found is people are friendlier in Oregon, adding, “It’s kind of nice that not everybody knows everybody. A majority of the time in Hawaii, people know you or they’ve already heard of you. Here, you can just meet people and they’ve never heard your story.”

When she’s feeling homesick, Victor spends time with her friends to keep herself busy. Visits to lighthouses on the Oregon coast and trips to Portland to watch the Trailblazers have kept her busy on the weekends.

Victor has certainly settled in comfortably at the University of Oregon: making new friends, challenging herself academically, exploring the region, and sharing and expanding her story.