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Vanessa will graduate in 2017 with a degree in allied health science and a minor in criminal justice. She plans to pursue a master's degree in public health. Growing up bilingual in a small town made Vanessa's transition to GVSU a bit of a challenge at first. Seeking out (and receiving) grants, getting involved with TRiO Student Support Services, and being her own strongest advocate, Vanessa has become an amazing example for others on how to succeed at college, no matter what your background. Vanessa has worked hard to get where she is, holding down two jobs throughout her time at GVSU, both in TRiO and off campus. She plans to advocate for those without a voice when she graduates, using her Spanish to help others navigate the complex healthcare landscape.

  1. Vanessa not only overcomes disappointment, she realizes an incredible truth about herself. (2:46) Transcript
  2. The power one class can have in a life. (1:41) Transcript
  3. The decision to attend college can be intimidating for a first-generation student. (2:43) Transcript
  4. Choosing GVSU and facing the first tuition bill. (1:15) Transcript
  5. Vanessa’s feelings about working two jobs all the way through college. (1:10) Transcript
  6. The TRiO affect - connecting a commuter student to campus. (1:56) Transcript
  7. Vanessa reflects on her most frustrating time. (1:49) Transcript
  8. Vanessa on the support of friends and family. (3:47) Transcript