Hometown: Astoria, NY
High School: Townsend Harris High School
Intended major: Linguistics and Art History
Possible career: Consumer Insights/Venture Capital
Gabriela is currently a senior at Swarthmore. She is a devout member of the Alpha Beta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta and serves on the Service and Philanthropy committee. She also teaches cardio dance classes to students in her spare time. She works as an ITS Consultant and Resident Assistant on-campus.
In her own words:
Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
Adventure-seeker, ambitious, risk-taker, bubbly and caring.
What have been the most valuable Evans Scholars program experiences for you?
The summer after my freshman year, I volunteered at a textile center in Cusco, Peru. The organization, Centro de Textiles Tradicionales de Cusco, worked with a dozen indigenous weaving communities and provided them with business support, market development skills and financial aid. There, I worked in the buying offices; the organization sold hand-woven products to tourists from abroad. It was the first time I lived abroad by myself, and I could never but a price on how much I learned about myself and grew. I was able to visit a few weaving communities, learn how to back-loom weave, and improve my Spanish. It was a culture shock visiting rural areas and working with people whom at times I could not communicate with, since several people we worked with spoke Quechua. It was also the first time I ever travelled -- outside of visiting family. Peru was perfect for adventure, and I can never stop smiling when I think about my time there.
What was the most transformative class you have taken?
My contemporary art class changed the way I approached situations. I learned to place objects in a social and political context and think about how the objects interact with society and how they are a reflection of the artists. It was my first art history class, and this way of thinking made me more analytical even in everyday situations.
What subjects do you want to explore deeply?
I want to learn more about economics. It is something that I have always been curious about, but I was never able to have room in my class schedule for it. I have been reading a lot about this subject and the psychology behind it and find it fascinating.
What impact do you want to have on the world?
I want to learn about what people eat and how we can make people eat healthier. I am interested in making a difference in poverty stricken communities through healthier lifestyle initiatives. I would love to work for a consumer insights department for supermarkets and, perhaps, eventually start a healthy snacking company.
Name the person you most admire.
Hands down, my grandfather. He is the most clever man I know and has the most adventurous spirit I have ever encountered. Around forty years ago, he travelled (mostly, hitchhiked) throughout South America, North America and Australia looking for the perfect place to move my family. He fell in love with New York City, worked every job to support his family, and achieved his goal of buying a home for his family in America. He taught me how to hustle, be hardworking, take risks, and to always enjoy the pleasant surprises that come with life.
What are you proudest of in your life so far?
I cannot help but say attending college. I am the first in my family to do so, and I am so thankful that I was able to have the time and energy to devote to my school work and be accepted to a top liberal arts school. The Evans Scholarship has been a blessing, and I do not think that I would have ever received the same opportunities had I not attended Swarthmore College.