Mareasa Fortunato's resume reads like a list of Who's Who.
The 21-year-old University of Georgia senior's most recent recognition is the awarding of a $23,000 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship for a year's study abroad.
"I think my parents are ready to get me off of their payroll," said Mareasa with a laugh, adding that she will graduate from UGA this year with a Bachelor of Arts in honors interdisciplinary studies: rhetoric and law. Mareasa designed the program herself as part of the UGA Honors Program, outlining the classes she would take and rationalizing why she should be allowed to take those classes to earn the degree.
The daughter of Steve and Julie Fortunato, of Martinez, Mareasa plans to use her Rotary International scholarship to study in either Spain or Britain. She will find out in January if she'll pack her bags for Seville, Spain, her first-choice city.
"I did a study abroad program this summer with UGA," said Mareasa, who took Spanish courses during the summer to complete her minor. "We went to Valencia, Spain, and I just loved it. I love Spain so much. Part of the Rotary scholarship is that you must be proficient in the language of the country you want to study in."
To be awarded the Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, Mareasa had to complete a 22-page online application, which included writing two essays about herself.
Tom Richardson, scholarship committee chairman of Rotary District 6910, which encompasses Martinez and Evans and awarded the scholarship, said Mareasa is far beyond her years in experience than most people her age.
"Her resume at 21 is impressive and would make folks 70 years old wish they had accomplished as much as she has," Richardson said.
Mareasa was one of two students chosen by to receive an ambassadorial scholarship and one of a pool of 12 who applied for the scholarship. The other winner, Anna Erickson, of Doraville, was sponsored by the Peachtree Corner Rotary Club.
"It is a delight to meet these young people and get to know them," Richardson said. "It's a delight to get to know people of this quality."
After her year abroad, where Mareasa hopes to earn a master's degree in constitutional rights, the Lakeside High School graduate will return to the United States with the intent of enrolling in the New York University School of Law in New York, N.Y. She said she'll likely major in constitutional law and also hopes to earn a master's in public policy.
"I'm very good at analytical-type stuff," she said. "In high school, everyone said I would make a great lawyer and my parents said I liked to argue so well, that law was a good choice."
Already, Mareasa has interned for U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston in Washington, D.C., as a legislative assistant where she helped compile a comprehensive report on the USA Patriot Act and briefed the congressman on the bill before voting. She's also worked as a legal intern for Augusta attorney Jack Batson and is serving a two-year term as president of the UGA Honors Program Student Council, a role that follows a one-year term as the program's secretary.
Mareasa also is on the Honors Program Student Recruitment and serves as an Honors Ambassador, is a presidential scholar, a Watson-Brown Foundation Scholar and has been recognized by Palladia, UGA's highest women's honor society.
"She is a very ambitious young lady; a very busy young lady," Richardson said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.