Finding happy surprises at CMC

Valentina Gonzalez '23

Valentina Gonzalez ’23

Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Major: International Relations with a sequence in Human Rights, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies

  • Research Assistant, The Mgrublian Center for Human Rights
  • Appel Fellow
  • Gould Center Humanities Passion Project Fellow
  • Tutor, Dean of Students

Valentina Gonzalez ’23 did not initially picture herself attending a college like CMC. Growing up in Texas, she always had her sights on a big university. Everything changed when she visited CMC during her senior year of high school and learned the value of attending a small liberal arts college.

“Hearing about the opportunities, resources, and community that would be available to me as a student allowed me to envision myself at CMC for the next four years,” she said.

During her time at CMC, she has been able to experience firsthand the value of those offerings, but the happiest surprise has been the experience of joining the tight-knit community at the College.

The community and personalized experience is equally evident in classroom. During a challenging season of deciding if she wanted to change her major from Neuroscience to International Relations, she enrolled in Professor Bill Ascher’s comparative government course.

“Professor Ascher challenged me to discover the nuances of broad issues that affect vulnerable communities. Since taking his class, he has been kind enough to share his time in advising my personal research projects and thesis, where he has guided me to think independently as I peel back the layers that conceal possible policy solutions.”

The support from Professor Ascher and her other professors have resulted in practical real-world applications for Gonzalez. Recently she interned in the communications division of Human Rights Watch, an experience that’s now driving her career aspirations.

“I intend to work in a research capacity at an organization like Human Rights Watch, where I would like to concentrate on issues surrounding human trafficking. I hope to grow into a leadership position one day, where I can expand my impact on global human rights issues and make a difference in the lives of people from low-income, borderland communities.”

“I am so grateful that I have been able to take part in so many amazing experiences while attending CMC. Whether that be conducting student research at the Mgrublian Center, immersing myself in new cultures through study abroad, supporting my fellow first-generation and Latinx community members, attending Athenaeum lectures, and being surrounded by intelligent and thoughtful peers, I cherish all these experiences.”


Kelly Sullenberger


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