Gabbie Buendia, a member of the 2017 DDCSP U of M cohort and a 2019 DDCSP U of M alumni administrative assistant, was featured in the Orlando Sentinel last May for two of her dreams coming true. Last spring, within months of each other, Gabbie graduated from Rollins College as valedictorian (with a major in environmental studies and a minor in women’s studies) and became the first in her family to gain U.S. citizenship. In this piece, Gabbie reflects on her parents and on their important influence in her academic life. ‘”They always reiterated to me when I was younger how important education is and how that was a big reason and motivation for them bringing us here,” the 22-year-old said. “I think that definitely shaped the kind of student that I am.”‘ Click here to read about Gabbie’s journey to academic success and U.S. citizenship. Congratulations, Gabbie!