As a University of Iowa College of Law 3L, Maria Flores-Mills worked at the Office of the Provost, assisting the university’s first Latina PhD. During that time, she served alongside other Latina law, medical, and dental students on a panel for local middle school students. The crowd turned out to be “unruly,” Flores-Mills recalled. But having been an undergraduate education major with student teaching under her belt, she took charge and swiftly got the kids under control.
Impressed, the Provost invited Flores-Mills to come work for her after graduation to recruit local teenagers of color to the university. Flores-Mills had entered law school hoping to practice family law and immigration. But by the time she graduated in 1996, she was expecting a baby and wanted a job that allowed for a distinct work-life balance. That serendipitous opportunity “started my path in higher education,” she recalled.