Luna Diaz is the Honors College Outstanding Senior of the Year and the winner of the Robie Gold Medal Award from the Office of the President
Hometown: Barranquilla, Colombia
Majors: Law and Political Science
Involved in: Honors Alternative Spring Break, Arizona Supreme Court Legislative Internship, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium, Immigration Law Clinic
Francy Luna Diaz did not move from her home country of Colombia to the United States until she was 19. Now, she likely has more expertise than most people on campus about U.S. laws and government.
A law and political science double major, Luna Diaz dove in deep to her studies and believes what she has learned is essential knowledge for anyone.
“After all of my law classes I had the same thought: everyone must learn about this,” she says. “Everything from contracts, to understanding the Constitution and the U.S. judiciary, to looking at issues in a completely different way, were things I wish others knew.”
Luna Diaz chose to do a double major because of how well the law major is integrated with a political science degree and for the access to law curriculum.
“I already was interested in law, and I thought it would be the ideal place to be exposed to what a JD could be,” she says. “I also liked how innovative the program is, as the UA is a pioneer in this area.”
Luna Diaz recalls that one of her most memorable experiences as a BA in Law student was a class taught by one of her mentors, Professor Andrew Coan.
“[It] challenged me to think about issues more critically and in depth,” says Luna Diaz. “My critical thinking skills and my understanding of how the U.S. political system works were greatly enhanced by this class.”
Says Coan of his student: "I don't know that I have ever met a student who displayed greater drive or a stronger work ethic."
Beyond the classroom, Luna Diaz worked on multiple research projects with political science faculty, served as a translator in Arizona Law’s Immigration Law Clinic, and was one of only two students in the state chosen to be an Arizona Supreme Court legislative intern. The latter experience fueled her interest in women in politics.
“I am interested in research about women in politics and male-dominated fields and about Latinas in the U.S. and how they navigate life here,” says Luna Diaz, who has already published research papers and will continue her research as a political science PhD student at the University of Michigan after graduation.
For all her hard work, Luna Diaz is graduating as one of the most celebrated seniors on campus. She was named the 2019 Outstanding Senior of the Year from the UA Honors College and was awarded the Robie Gold Medal Award by the Office of the President.
As she bids farewell to the University of Arizona campus, Luna Diaz says her time here equipped her for success wherever she goes in the future.
“Each of my classes pushed me to learn or improve skills that I take with me for life.”
2019 Robie Gold Medal Award, University of Arizona Dean of Students
"Study Here, Do Incredible Things," University of Arizona