Growing up in Southern California, along with her three brothers, Jessica Chiriboga learned the importance of an education from her parents; her mother is a pediatrician; her father, a physician. “My biggest motivation has been my father,” she , explaining that he came from a low-income community in East Los Angeles and worked hard to succeed in school. She adds, “His dedication and commitment through the obstacles and his ability to secure a better life for his children inspires me to provide that same example for my children and change the world.”
She has just graduated from Glendora High School where she was active on many fronts and will attend Dartmouth in the fall. She says that as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, she faced bullying in high school that made her feel “powerless” and impacted her mental health, during a time she was struggling to find her place in the world. However, with the support of a dedicated teacher, as well as friends and family, she achieved enormous progress over a year-and-a-half’s time. “I was able to turn my life around and be more optimistic about the future,” she said.
She used the lessons she learned as a platform for helping others facing similar challenges. For example, she served as founder and president of NAMI Healthy Minds, the school's mental health club, which promotes mental health awareness through weekly wellness circles, and as the Associated Student Body’s vice-president for outreach. She also served as vice-president of the school’s Genders & Sexualities Alliance, working to make the school a safe place for those who identify as LGBTQ+. In addition, she is a member of the GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Educational Network] National Student Council, which is dedicated to making schools safer for LGBTQ+ students nationally. Outside of school, she is president of EPIC-San Gabriel Youth and Government, a model government program through the California YMCA. She also says that she loves serving her community as a Girl Scout Ambassador.
In June 2019, Jessica was one of 200 students selected to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2019 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) at The University of Chicago. YLI is a four-day, overnight program that gives outstanding, Latino, rising, high school seniors the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career. “Being part of the HSF network means finding a community that wants to you to succeed,” she says, “From the peers to the staff to the role models, the HSF network is about empowering each other to make our biggest dreams a reality.”
Her goal is to become a Supreme Court Justice. To that end, she will be attending Dartmouth College where she plans to major in Social Sciences before pursuing a career in law and the judiciary.
She advises other students to start their college applications early. She believes that many make the mistake of waiting until their senior year begins to start their applications and says, “I would advise everyone to make use of their summer months to get a head start!”