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With a lifelong dream to become a lawyer, University of Louisville (UofL) senior Gissel Garcia chose to major in political science and minor in criminal justice. “Being a minority motivated me to become a lawyer and get my degree. I want to be able to help other minorities who do not have access to resources such as lawyers,” Gissel said.
Gissel works as a package handler at UPS and has been with the Metropolitan College program since Fall 2018. “I decided to participate in the MC program because it was the only way I could afford to go to college,” Gissel said.
Gissel’s advice for students considering participating in the Metropolitan College program is to “do it”. “This program is so beneficial to you,” Gissel said.
Gissel is a leader and involved in several clubs and student organizations across campus, including the Latinx Student Union, an organization that works to advocate for and empower the Latinx community and celebrate Latinx culture at the university, and Compas Peer Mentor, a program that is part of the Hispanic/Latinx & Indigenous Initiative and its purpose is to help mentor incoming Latinx students by providing support with personal, academic and professional success.
This spring, Gissel received a nomination for the 2021 Outstanding Metropolitan College Student Award, an award that recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding leadership, work-life balance, and academic success.
Set to graduate in the spring of 2022, Gissel aims to attend law school and become a criminal defense lawyer.
Learn more about Gissel Garcia in this Metropolitan College Spotlight Q&A Interview and Video
Video produced by Renecia Griffie Davis, a Metropolitan College staff member.
Music in this video:
Song Artist: Scott Holmes Music
Song Title: Corporate Vision
What led you to participate in the MC program?
My parents do not make enough money to help with college and they have to take care of my brother as well. College was a luxury neither one of my parents were able to have and I am grateful for the MC program for giving me this luxury.
What has been your involvement with co-curricular activities, co-ops or internships, volunteer experience, community service, undergraduate research, etc.?
I volunteer for Backside Learning Center, and I help tutor the children of equine workers from Churchill Downs. We help them with their schoolwork and their reading skills. Next semester, I am looking to do an internship with Louisville Metro.
What has been your biggest challenge as a MC participant and how did you overcome these challenges?
My biggest challenge being a MC participant is having to adjust my schedule to accommodate working night shift. It was hard at first especially when making class schedules and making sure your classes are later in the afternoon. I also had to learn to take naps within a set schedule because I needed to sleep before work. You have to try to be more organized and structured with your schedule.
What motivates and drives you to succeed while pursuing your educational goals?
What motivates me and drives me to succeed are several things; one of them is my parents. My parents are from Mexico and migrated to the United States in the 90's. They gave up their whole lives and families to come here to a land in which they had no one and did not know the language, all to give their kids a better opportunity to achieve something greater than what they had.
How has working at UPS contributed to your personal and professional growth?
UPS has contributed to my personal growth by having to keep my priorities in check. There are times where I want to have fun on the weekends, but I had to prioritize my homework or readings over hanging out with my friends. UPS has helped with my professional growth by forcing me to be an organized person.
What person(s) has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
There are two people who I would consider to be big influences in my life. The first would be my mother. She came from a poor family in rural Mexico and had to work for everything in her life. She grew up in a town where you had to grow a lot of your food and reuse ripped up clothes. My mother grew up and worked to save enough money to move to a bigger town and opened a small store connected to her house where people could buy necessities. She gave that all up to come to the U.S. with my father. She gave up her store, home, and possibly of seeing her family for years to come here for us and for love.
The second person who is a big influence is Dolores Huerta. She fought alongside Cesar Chavez for the rights of labor workers. She was an activist in every sense and really gave people hope. Her rallying cry was "Sí, se puede!" Which means "Yes, we can." As a Mexican American I look up to her dedication to our people and trying to help them.
What advice do you have for students interested in the MC program?
Another piece of advice would be to get an agenda and a schedule going and stick to it! Being organized is the best thing you could do for yourself.
What is an interesting or fun fact about yourself?
An interesting fact about myself is that I am the first U.S. Citizen out of my entire immediate family and extended family.
We are proud of our current students and alumni and their incredible accomplishments! The MC Spotlight is a way for us to highlight the amazing things our current students and alumni are doing. As you read their stories, you will learn how their Metropolitan College experiences helped to shape their futures and influence their careers.
We are always on the lookout for inspiring MC Spotlight stories. If you or someone you know is interested in sharing a story with us, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: At Metropolitan College, we consider our alumni anyone who has ever completed coursework and received tuition benefits with us.
"The MC program is awesome to be a part of when you receive bonus money for good grades, graduation money, and graduate debt free!!"
"UPS is a place where you can make lifetime friends no matter how young or old you are."