Since authoring the Auburn Creed in 1943, Dr. George Petrie’s words representing character, integrity and spirit have resonated with Auburn students, including College of Human Sciences senior Maria Buitrago Diaz, the 2022 recipient of the “Be the Creed” award.
Diaz, who is majoring in Nutrition Dietetics and will be attending Tufts University in the Fall for her master's degree and a dietetic internship, was chosen out of several nominees who exhibit outstanding values and character.
Diaz admitted that early on as a freshman she wasn’t sure if Auburn was the right place for her after enduring struggles, but over time she grew to love it.
“I’ve met plenty of amazing students who live their life representing the values of the Creed, so it was a huge honor and surprise to have been chosen for this award,” Diaz said. “I started out this year with a vision to increase exposure to my field and create opportunities for students in my department to gain practical experience and get involved with the community. I think my classmates deserve way more credit for caring so much, having awesome ideas and actively taking steps to enhance our department. It has been a team effort.”
Since 2015, Auburn University Student Conduct developed the Be the Creed campaign as a way to promote positive decision making, honesty and respect among all Auburn University students. The campaign engages students, staff and faculty in recognizing the behaviors, attitudes and actions of others that exemplify the Auburn Creed.
In addition, Student Conduct accepts nominations throughout the year from staff, faculty and students for the Be the Creed award and for 2022, Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Clinical Education Programs Dr. Donna Burnett nominated Diaz for two standout values she exemplifies.
Burnett attributed Diaz’s hard work and helpfulness as reasons for her success as a student and involvement with student organizations.
“Maria is an extremely hard-working individual with an unusual maturity towards her work as an undergraduate student,” Burnett said. “In addition to her high level of academic success in my classroom, she also works on behalf of her undergraduate program as the president of the Student Dietetic Association where she organizes service activities to allow the group members to work on and off-campus to serve the community.”
One example of Diaz’s work ethic is leading the officers of the Student Dietetic Association and helping them thrive under her leadership. They are working hard to help patients who do not have sufficient resources to purchase continuous insulin pumps by planning and promoting a fundraising walk for diabetes to raise $10,000 for East Alabama Health. Diaz also credits Burnett as being a positive influence for helping her succeed during her time at Auburn.
“Dr. Burnett is the advisor for the Student Dietetic Association and has been my professor of several years,” Diaz said. “We both entered this year not really knowing what to expect for the organization. It was her first year as our advisor and I honestly had no idea how to run a student organization, so we figured it out as we went. She is supportive of her students and is open to new ideas. She is always available to help us when we need it and has been an incredible mentor with a heart of gold.”
For more information on the “Be the Creed” campaign, visit conduct.auburn.edu/bethecreed/..