Meet the MCB Recipient 2015, Mariana Silva
The Margaret C. Berry scholarship was created in 1978 by Orange Jackets, Mortar Board, and
the Texas Exes to recognize one outstanding sophomore woman. The scholarship is named for
Dr. Berry, a former member of Orange Jackets who later served the university as a professor,
advisor, and a dean. It recognizes a sophomore woman who has made a significant impact on
campus and also awards membership into Orange Jackets, beginning in Fall 2016.
The MCB winner for 2015 was Mariana Silva, a third year civil engineering major from Sao
Why did you apply for the Margaret C. Berry scholarship?
I wanted to be a part of Orange Jackets because I really looked up to many of the women in the
organization. To me, they were women that I wanted to be like, that pushed me to work harder. I
knew Nicole Chu and Danielle Smith, and they both encouraged me to apply. I felt like being
around women who are so empowering and do so much around campus would empower me as
well and help me grow as a person and a leader.
What are you involved in around campus?
I was an orientation advisor and am a FIG mentor in the Women in Engineering program. For the
past two years, I have been working on a Green Fee Grant called Texas Green Tours. I started an
organization for international students in engineering and I work with Projects With Under-
Served Communities. I also work at the Career Center and as a tutor and I just performed in the
What is your favorite part about being in Orange Jackets?
My favorite part of being in Orange Jackets is being in a room where every single person is so
empowered and so motivated, so brave and strong. Everyone in Orange Jackets is like that.
Everyone is on the same level in terms of leadership skills, communication skills, and so much
more. It's so awesome to see so many leaders in the same place doing different things and being
in different groups but yet coming together to be in one incredible organization.
What is one thing that you're really passionate about?
It depends on the day! My biggest passion at the moment is finding and providing more
resources for international students on campus. I'm from Brazil. I moved here when I was 14
years old, and even though most international students move here just for college, I have
experienced some of the struggles that they face constantly. 10% of the university is made up of
international students but yet there are only 6 counselors in the International Office to guide
these 5500 students. There are very few resources for this small group of people. As a result,
there is no voice for international students, no unified platform. I started the one and only
organization for international students here on campus. On top of this lack of community, there
are a slew of issues that come from being on your own in a completely different country: taking
courses like US history or Texas history (most international students find these courses very
difficult and often fail because these histories were not ingrained in them since childhood), not
being able to stay in dorms over Christmas break, having difficulty finding jobs, lack of
eligibility to apply for scholarships. My goal at the moment is to bring awareness to the issue and
help resolve the lack of resources. I hope that in my time here, I can contribute to providing a
community for these students.
Do you have any advice for MCB applicants?
Be yourself. Believe in yourself. Don’t think less of yourself. I didn’t think I would win, but here
I am. Be truthful and show them your weaknesses. I felt that I didn't have enough experience in
community service, but I was open about it and said that was one of the reasons I was motivated
to join Orange Jackets! Have faith in yourself! Oh, and make sure to not write the essays the
FTIW Hike the Grand Canyon over Spring Break!
For more information about the Margaret C. Berry Scholarship and Orange Jackets visit this link.