Jenny Gonzalez is empowering future generations of leaders.
Class of 2019
Creating a career built upon empowering others comes second nature to Jenny Gonzalez ‘19, a first generation American who experienced the full effects of empowerment in her own life. After having the opportunity to attend college through the McGowan Outreach program, Gonzalez took what she learned and eagerly looked to pay it forward. Now, as a Marywood graduate with her master’s in social work, Gonzalez pursues two passions: fighting for equitable education and supporting local immigrant populations. In both areas, Gonzalez looks to empower those for whom she can make an impact.
On the side of education, Gonzalez continues to be a part of Marywood’s Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success (STARS), which she helped create while a student attending Marywood. STARS is both a tutoring and mentoring program for 7-12th grade students and their families. This program looks to provide information and resources to students and families unfamiliar with the U.S. public education system. The STARS program, which is supported by Marywood volunteers, encourages young Latinx students and their families to prepare for a successful future. Gonzalez explains that the ultimate goal of the program is to empower young students in the community, “make them feel welcomed...and cheer them on.”
Beyond the STARS program, Gonzalez also prioritizes her role at the Community Justice Project where she advocates for our local immigrant population. In her role, Gonzalez says, “it's really about... empowering these populations, providing them the services that they need, understanding [and] listening to where they're coming from.” In this way, Gonzalez and the rest of the Community Justice Project looks to make a change, fighting for equitable access to public benefits, affordable housing, health care, mental health services, and education.
With a firm belief in the educational path she chose, Gonzalez shares, “it provides me a lot of joy, knowing that… I am using the skills that I learned during my undergrad and graduate school to really help others… [T]hat is the nature of my profession, of what I studied, you know, to really use the skills that we’re learning to encourage, empower, assist diverse populations. And so that, for me, is one of the most important values.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the STARS Program can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.