Gemma Garcia Oakes '14
Born in Ensenada, Mexico, Gemma Garcia arrived in the small town of Kerman, California, speaking little English and facing challenges as a student from a different culture. Like many children of farm-working families, Garcia was helping her mother pick grapes and strawberries at the age of 12. Even then, the young girl dreamt of doing more.
"My mother inspired me," Garcia says. "I know she would have loved the opportunity to go to college. She always said, 'Don't give up."
Garcia and her hardworking mother held onto their dreams. Today, the 21-year-old Garcia is studying history and sociology at UC Santa Cruz aided by a $3,000 Alumni Association scholarship. She plans to go into teaching and also help the Mixtec community in the United States rediscover and celebrate its roots and customs.
Thanks to her UCSC Alumni Association scholarship, she has the opportunity to fulfill her dreams.