First Generation: Gladys Zuniga

When Gladys Hernandez Zuniga was thirteen years old, she would wake up in the early hours of the morning and help her dad with his landscaping business. She holds this experience close to her heart because it’s what motivates her to continue her college career.

“In the future I want to be able to support my parents and have them not work as hard as they do now,” says Gladys.

As a first-generation student and a senior at the University of Utah, Gladys constantly pushes herself to pursue her goals and get closer to where she wants to be in her professional career. Gladys is not only double majoring in sociology and criminology but is also double minoring in Chicano/Chicana studies and political science. She plans on going to law school after graduation.

To balance her academics, Gladys is also a Data Quality Analyst for Education at Work. She helps transition students into their schedules and guides in their positions after training. She helps students of they have questions or need to know what is expected of them. Gladys is the glue that holds it all together!

Growing up, college was always discussed in her household. Gladys was the only one to graduate high school in her family.

“My parents weren’t able to do so when they were in Mexico. School has been a big thing for me,” she says. “Stories about people walking the stage for graduation is what kept me motivated to keep going to school all of these years.”

“I do whatever I can to pursue my goals and get closer to where I want to be in my professional career,” says Gladys.

In Mexico, her cousins have been involved in organized crime, and she says that really pushes her to stick with her goals.

With graduating inching closer, Gladys has also been interning at the district court house doing probate cases and legal guardianship. She notes that her internship and going to a 4-year university are her two proudest accomplishments. Gladys has also earned approximately $6,000 in tuition assistance, and we believe that is something to be extremely proud of. Congratulations Gladys!

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