Maria Veloso, a current catalyst student and senior, hopes to write a novel that deals with themes of mental illness, family and cultural backgrounds. Her goal is to raise awareness about mental illness, to reduce the stigma surrounding it and to paint a realistic picture of what having a mental illness is really like.

Her main character is going to be an outgoing basketball player, instead of the stereotypical character that is quieter and reserved (which is how mental illness is usually portrayed in media and literature).

Her biggest challenge so far was getting a mentor but after lots of thought and conversation with her teacher, she decided to reach out to an alumna who is going to help write and edit Marias novel.

Maria already has finished nine chapters out of her anticipated 20 chapters. Her next steps after completing phase 2 of catalyst will be to follow up with her mentor, revise the work she has already done and to finish the novel.

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