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Photo: Georgina Gonzalez
After being rejected from approximately 150 internships, this first-gen student received a yes from [email protected] Photo: Georgina Gonzalez

Georgina Gonzalez, a win for Latino community

After being rejected from approximately 150 internships, this first-gen student received a yes from [email protected]

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As an only child and a first generation Latina student, Georgina Gonzalez understands the importance of advocacy in professional spaces. She grew up in Sun Valley, California—a low-income, mostly Mexican, Latino community, where she attended a Title 1 high school with a predominately Latinx student population. 

“My parents worked endlessly and did the best to provide me a good life,” says the latchkey kid. “I spent a lot of my time staying at my neighbor's house while my parents were at work.” 

As she got older she realized that was not everybody else’s norm. Gonzalez acknowledges how instrumental and motivational her parents’ efforts have been to her life; citing working hard and advocating for herself as two important lessons emphasized by her parents. 

“My mom is my biggest role model. She has so much tenacity and she has the brightest ideas,” Georgina said. “She kind of always taught me to be outgoing and to not be scared of saying an idea and getting rejected.” 

A tenacious personality acquired from her mother that has translated to making school a big priority; mainly because her parents expressed their job was to work to provide for her, and Georgina’s job was to do well in school. 

Her parents worked a busy schedule from 8:00am to 10:00pm—making it impossible to remind Georgina to do her homework. She naturally grasps the concept of autonomy. 

If her parents were making all these sacrifices, “the least I could do is perform well academically where they want me to,” Georgina emphasized. 

Growing up in Sun Valley, resources were scarce. Georgina felt a sense of duty to do good in school to provide a better life for her parents.

“I’m working so that I can be a testament to my parents that their hard work was worth it and for my community too—my community means the world to me where I grew up all my life,” reiterates Gonzalez, who is studying Statistics at University of California, San Diego. 

Although she is two hours away from her parents who are living in Los Angeles, she gets inspired by focusing on why she is pursuing a higher education degree, noting she is doing it for her parents, something she expresses people don’t seem to understand. 

“I find so much enjoyment and so much fulfillment from that,” said Georgina. “I want to succeed, and I want to be able to bring my parents with me because they are my best friends.”

Coming from a low-income community and witnessing how natural disasters can ruin people’s livelihood, presented a culture shock after moving to San Diego, where some had different views of what flooding truly looked like. 

“People didn’t live in the situations that people from my hometown lived in,” commented Georgina. “Things that are normal to me may not have been the norm for everyone else.”

Gonzalez was able to attend UC San Diego thanks to a scholarship she received from an alumni at her high school— although the scholarship doesn’t cover all the expenses, it alleviates some of the financial burden from her parents’ shoulders. 

She believes education should be accessible and a given, instead of people deciding whether to get an education over being in debt. 

She wrestles with knowing she lives in a safe area and is not afraid to walk down the street at night, something that her parents aren’t able to say the same. She loves her community and her hometown but feels this “guilt [that] I’m in such a pretty area, getting such amazing opportunities, and my parents are working hard to keep me here.” 

Photo: Georgina Gonzalez

Despite these thoughts, she was able to apply and get accepted to be an intern at Telemundo San Diego. As a Latina, she resonates with Telemundo. She grew up watching it all the time. 

She recalls how she felt during the selection process, stating “to tell my parents that I’m being considered for Telemundo to work at Telemundo. It leaves me speechless.” Even now while entering the building she gets chills. 

“It’s something that I never thought could happen and it did. I remember calling my mom when I got the internship and her and my dad crying,” explained Georgina, who calls this her “big girl internship.” 

This was the first time Georgina would be able to showcase who she was within doors that impact hundreds and thousands of people. Thus far, she has been able to be a story producer, learn how to work with the web, shadow a reporter, among other things. 

Photo: Georgina Gonzalez

Her ambitions don’t end with Telemundo. She was accepted to the [email protected] internship program starting January 2023. The program offers students an Apple mentor that would help them grow professionally and personally, and learn alongside top Finance professionals. 

“If I’m given a sliver of opportunity, I’m going to do my best to stretch it out,” Georgina recalls telling the Apple recruiter. 

Although she is still navigating different professional spaces, she knows she wants to work somewhere in the Technology and Entertainment industries. She enjoys the business side of things and aspires to be a leader and vice president of important companies. 

“I’ve proven to myself time and time again that I’m dreaming big, but I’m taking action,” Gonzalez commented, who was just accepted to Cornell University and will be transferring Spring 2023.

As a first- generation student at Apple, she is aware she is charting unknown territory, and she is going into a space that people around her have not really been through. 

Georgina emphasizes that “rejection is redirection,” that people only get to see highlights of her life on LinkedIn, but don’t get to hear about the 150 internships she applied to and only six responded offering an interview. 

“I know that I got rejected from places that led me to even bigger doors,” explained Gonzalez. 

Her mother likes to remind her that “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” 

Her advice for first-generation students and those who are just starting out is to “aim, dream big, and advocate for yourself and reach out to people.” She believes there’s going to be a lot of hardship in the pursuit of professional achievements and the process will not be easy, but at some point, you will be elated that you tried. 

Even if you don’t have the work experience, “you have the worth ethic and the desire and passion to be there,” reiterates Georgina. “Open doors for yourself that aren’t usually going to be open. Doors won’t be open unless you go and do it.” 

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