Veronica Ochoa, a third year student at Gonzaga University, takes seriously her commitment to serving as a role model and mentor to her peers and local youth. She serves as a leader in the summer BRIDGE program that welcomes incoming underrepresented students to Gonzaga's campus. As a LEADS peer mentor, she supports fellow underrepresented students in developing a solid foundation during their transition to college. She is also actively engaged in La Raza Latina, the Filipino American Student Union (FASU), is a member of the Residence Hall Association, volunteers as a tutor to youth at-risk with the Saturday Literacy Program, and participates in alternative spring breaks to learn more about critical social justice issues impacting communities across the United States.
As a Physical Education major, she hopes to continue to serve as a mentor and advocate for youth. She is keenly aware of the health disparities that impact low income communities and minorities. As an educator, she wants to encourage schools, families and youth to recognize the multi-dimensions of health and well-being are critical to a child's ability to succeed in school.
As a person of color, woman, and first generation college student getting to and staying in college was no easy feat. I've had my fair share of hardships which have shaped me into the person I am today. Because of my struggles I want to share my story with others and motivate them to pursue their hopes and dreams.
In my time at Gonzaga I've dedicated myself to the Building Relationships In Diverse Gonzaga Environments (BRIDGE) program. The BRIDGE program works with incoming first year and transfer students who identify as people of color, first generation college students, and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community. Through this program we create and teach students about inclusive and safe environments, build strong, meaningful relationships, and help students make a smooth transition from their high school or previous college to Gonzaga. All this is done through teaching, sharing, and learning about diversity, social justice issues, and solidarity.
When I graduate and pursue a career in education I want to continue sharing my story and influencing my students to breakdown barriers and follow their dreams. I want my students to learn about themselves and how they can advocate to make a change in the world.