Gabriela was born in Illinois. She is a single child, raised by her mother who emigrated from Puebla, Mexico. Her mother works in a sports club laundry and has been a significant role model in her daughter’s life.
“She has influenced me greatly, since she has been my only parent,” said Gabriela, and adds that her mother taught her to be a hard worker and has provided unwavering support for her to continue to advance with her education.
She is currently a senior in high school and busy on campus. She is captain of her school’s chess team and is also a member of the Spanish Club and Peer Ministry. But the achievement she is most proud of is having been accepted into the language honor society, Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, at the end of her sophomore year.
She is also active in her religious community. In addition to being a peer minister on her campus, she is active in her local church, volunteering at Sunday school, as well as playing four instruments and singing in the choir.
This past summer, she was one of 137 outstanding Latino high school juniors selected to participate in HSF’s Youth Leadership Institute held at the University of Chicago. YLI is a series of four-day, overnight conferences convened on the campuses of several leading universities. The program is designed to give top students the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career.
Recalling the experience, she said: “HSF is helping me achieve my goals by offering opportunities to apply for a scholarship… [and] has also taught me skills that will prepare me to be a leader.”
Her love of Spanish and music play prominent roles in her immediate and longer-term goals. First, she plans to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Computer Science, minoring in Spanish and earning an additional degree in Music. Once she enters her profession, she hopes to create software that will help musicians edit music, as well as apps that will benefit the broader community.