Lucas Gonima comes from a family that believes in education—his parents and three older siblings all have college degrees. His parents inspired him in other ways, as well. “Seeing my parents work and strive to provide a better life for me has been an incredible motivation,” he said.
Raised in Florida, he attends the University of Florida (UF), where he just completed his senior year, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. In addition to his HSF Scholarship, he also earned several other scholarships. He notes that without his scholarships, college would have been out of reach.
Despite his solid academic credentials, he recalls a rocky start to his freshman year. For one thing, he sought to overcome the hurdle of knowing hardly anyone at UF by applying to two different campus organizations—only to be rejected. But he persevered and ended up participating in a wide range of campus activities, including the UF ACCENT Speakers Bureau , which recognized him as Director of the Year , the Global Business Society, and Emerging Consultants program.
He has also volunteered with the Big Brother/Little Brother program, as well as UF’s The Big Event, which seeks to benefit the wider local community of Gainesville. He has also served as a peer advisor for Warrington Welcome, a program designed to help first-year business students succeed, and as a Florida Greek Ambassador.
Lucas was chosen from among his fellow Scholars to attend several, multi-day HSF conferences, including the HSF National Leadership Conference, the Media & Entertainment Summit, and the Entrepreneurship Summit, all of which he describes as having been “excellent and invaluable experiences.” These career-oriented conferences offer attendees the opportunity to meet industry leaders and participate in full-service Career Expos.
He notes that one of many benefits offered at Scholar conferences are the myriad opportunities to network with peers and successful professionals. Today, he looks forward to paying that forward when his time comes. “Being a part of the HSF network means being able to give back to Hispanic scholars and families across the country.”
In addition to attending conferences, he has also availed himself of HSF’s Scholar Support Services, utilizing various tools and guidance, as well as exclusive opportunities for internships and jobs. His professional goal is to own his own business and to be a real estate investor.
Lucas encourages students to not hold back from reaching out to others for guidance as he has done. “When I was younger, I struggled with asking for advice,” he admits, but “college is very different, and speaking to someone who has collegiate experience is invaluable.”