NAU students shared what the word hero means to them: Someone who inspires because of their ability to persist, despite the odds stacked against them. From parents to Princess Diana, the university community described and discussed these figures, along with how they push students to the best of their abilities.


Leandro Funes 



Hero: Father

“A lot of people have a misconception that a hero is someone who does extraordinary things every day and is a shining beacon of hope, when in reality, a hero is just someone who perseveres in the face of adversity,” Funes said. 

“I know this is a cliche answer, but my hero would have to be my father, because he sacrificed everything to come to America. He worked from the ground up, made his own business and has now had 22 years of a successful career he started all by himself. I have never met anyone as hard-working and determined as my father. Even though we are very different people, I aspire to have his drive and passion."

Sophia Sobel


Criminal Justice 

Hero: Mother

“My mom is definitely my hero,” Sobel said. “She is probably the person I am the most close with. If I am ever struggling, she is someone I always turn to. I can tell her anything and there is no judgment there.

“She has been a single mom since I was 6, and [watching her] parent all by herself has really pushed me to be a hard worker so I can make her proud. I am a first-generation college student, so getting a degree for her is something that is really important to me. Since she has taken care of me my whole life, I want to be able to take care of her when I am older.”


Meriel Medina


Environmental Sciences & Spanish 

Hero: Socrates

“In grade school, my teachers would always throw around Socrates’s name, and it made him seem intimidating,” Medina said. “But now, learning about Socrates, he is very admirable and someone who inspires me. He always spoke about working your soul and your mind instead of possessions and wealth. His city actually executed him because they believed he was ruining the youth. I find it amazing that he stuck to his beliefs until the very end. His bravery, honesty and integrity are all attributes that I aspire to hold in my life.”

Mason Georgvich 


Business Management

Hero: Grandfather

“A hero to me is someone I look up to and aspire to be, someone who I can go to if I ever need help in my life,” Georgvich said. 

“That person in my life is my grandpa. He has inspired me to be the person I am. He got me into football and truly made me the athlete I am. Growing up, he would always share inspiring quotes with me and ultimately led me to get the majority of my football scholarships.”


Mikayla Roux


Interior Architectural Design

Hero: Princess Diana

“A hero is somebody whose story is a perfect example of a great person trying to do good,” Roux said. 

“Someone that I see as inspiring is Princess Diana. I see her as a hero because she had so much adversity in her life, and even through those struggles, she was still able to prioritize the people she cared about. I’m not saying you have to do good things at the expense of your mental health, but she is somebody whose private life was really hard, and I find it inspirational how she was able to work through that and still be the great woman she was.”

Nikki Selen


Creative Media & Film, Journalism

Hero: Father

“The word hero to me means someone you look up to, someone who is there for you and helps you grow,” Selen said. “It doesn’t necessarily mean someone that stands above you, but someone you look up to, helps you in becoming who you want to be and supports you in your journey.

“That person for me is my dad. My dad always pushed me to be the best version of myself. Not in a pushy way, but in a very supportive way. He lives his life to be happy. When his job sucked, he quit because he wasn’t happy and wanted to live a better life. He has shown me that it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, or what you are doing in life, as long as it makes you happy and the people around you make you happy.

“His ambition and his ability to change his mindset are traits I look up to in my dad. If he realizes he is doing something that makes him unhappy, it is really easy for him to change his life in a better way.

“You don’t want to admit it to yourself, but your parents are the ones that help you grow, and [they] make you the person you want to be. My dad would always tell me, ‘I know you’re going to end up dating a guy exactly like me, because that is the man you need in your life.’ So my dad is my hero, but the person I end up with in the future will also be my hero. That is what I aspire for.”

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