Vanessa Gonzalez-Wright has turned advocacy for students into action along several avenues during her nearly three years at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), working tirelessly to make an impact that’s long-lasting and in at least one respect indelible.
A School of Social Work student set to earn her MSW degree this spring, Gonzalez-Wright has been a relentless advocate for students with diverse backgrounds, working with UMB’sOffice of Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives (ISLSI), the student group Latinx Unidos for Community Healing and Awareness (LUCHA), and as co-chair of a Universitywide task force exploring the establishment of a multicultural center on campus.
“Activism has always been a part of who I am and what I strive to accomplish in my personal life as well as my career,” says Gonzalez-Wright, a Los Angeles native who earned a sociology degree from Cal State Northridge. “My parents are emigrants from Mexico and El Salvador who came to this country with a dream to provide their children with more opportunities than they could have ever imagined for themselves. They were only able to attend school up to third grade, which is why advocating for students to have an educational space that is validating and supportive is an important part of who I am.”
For these efforts, Gonzalez-Wright received a Diversity Recognition Award as Outstanding UMB Student at the University’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month celebration on Feb. 6.