Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences
A PERSON FOR OTHERS AWARD
Maria Flores, Arts '84
When Maria Flores was a student, her professors remarked at how formed and definitive her beliefs were. Today, she channels that passion and drive into her work at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
At the beginning of Maria’s impressive 27-year tenure at EEOC, she became the Milwaukee District Office’s first bilingual investigator and served on the district’s “Systemic Team,” investigating high-profile class action and systemic discrimination cases. In her current role as the outreach and education manager for the six states comprising EEOC’s Chicago District, she’s delivered hundreds of workshops on workplace rights and responsibilities for employers. She also works directly with diverse constituents in addressing workplace discrimination, from immigrants and farmworkers to people with disabilities.
“It can be frustrating to balance strict government policy and procedures with my personal beliefs,” she says, “but I feel a responsibility to shoulder that challenge as I can serve others in my unique capacity as an agency insider and as a bilingual person of color.”
Maria chose Marquette for its academic reputation and emphasis on ethics and faith. And she’s glad she did; interacting with Jesuits invigorated her passion for service, which has proved invaluable to her career. She has also volunteered on boards and committees for varied organizations that include the arts, justice reform and Rotary.
“Service was always a core value in my family, and Marquette helped me kick that into a higher gear, reinforcing the moral mandate to assist others who do not have the advantages I have had in my life.”
Fun Fact: Maria loved her advanced Spanish grammar courses with Dr. Barry Velleman: “The class made me appreciate and love the beauty and humor of a language I was reclaiming as my own and embracing as an important part of my core identity.”