Hello! My name is Imelda Gonzalez Ojeda. I am a first-generation student and the oldest child in my family. My mom is from Michoacan and my dad is from Jalisco, they both met here in Reno and this is where I was born and have lived for my entire life. I entered school only knowing Spanish which caused me to doubt myself at times since there was a language barrier in my education. In third grade, I met Ms. Thomas who inspired my love and passion for learning. She helped me embrace being bilingual. My mom had always told me that I had to go to college, she works as a cleaning porter and only went to school until the second grade and has shown me how much she had struggled without a formal education. My mom was always very involved in my education by going to weekend and after-school events, but since she never went to college she did not know how to help me fully reach my goals. I have been a part of GEAR UP since I was in 7th grade. GEAR UP would host events at my middle school, Traner Middle School, to provide us with information about accessibility to college. I continued with the GEAR UP program in high school by taking dual credit classes, doing summer conferences, and visiting colleges. GEAR UP helped me by teaching me what my mom wished she could about getting a college education. I have met so many amazing people throughout my journey in GEAR UP and have created a beautiful family and support system. I am currently in my third year at Truckee Meadows Community College pursuing my degrees in Elementary Education and Human Development and Family Studies. I am going to transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno this Summer to continue my education in both degrees. I plan on becoming a teacher who supports and celebrates my students’ dreams and cultures.