Gabriela emigrated to the United States at the age of seven from Mexico. At ten years old, she would spend her summer vacations accompanying her mother to work to earn money cleaning homes. Education wasn’t a priority for her family, but Gabriela enjoyed going to school. As an undocumented student, she learned that seeking higher education after high school would be difficult if she wasn’t a citizen. Unable to receive financial assistance, Gabriela was still determined to attend college. She enrolled in Bronx Community College and paid tuition out-of-pocket. It took Gabriela ten years to complete an associates degree while earning minimum wage. In 2016, she received permanent residence status. Gabriela enrolled at John Jay College to pursue a degree International Criminal Justice.

“My motto is, as long as there is life, there is will. No one and nothing can limit one but thyself.”