Marisa Gonzalez ’16
UNCG graduate student Marisa Gonzalez ‘16 seizes every opportunity she can to give back. As a mentor for Latino high school students attending UNCG’s three-day college readiness program, CHANCE, Gonzalez empathizes with the students’ situation.
“I was once in their shoes, and I still remember how difficult it was,” reflects Gonzalez.
Watching these students become inspired about the possibility of college and the financial help available ignites Gonzalez’s hopes.
The challenge of college access is part of Gonzalez’s life journey, motivating her to make the way easier for other Latino students. Her own path to college was facilitated by the Margaret M. and James T. Freeze Scholarship Fund.
A 1951 graduate of Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina, Margaret “Peg” Montgomery Freeze majored in history. She and her husband, James T. Freeze, demonstrated appreciation of their undergraduate education by establishing a scholarship for students engaged in teacher preparation at Freeze’s alma mater. Gonzalez’s pursuit of an undergraduate degree in Spanish education – including study abroad – was made possible by the Freeze scholarship.
In November 2015, Gonzalez met her benefactors, posting her thanks on Facebook:
“Today I met the Freezes. They have been my scholarship donors these last two years. Because of them I was able to go to Spain without too many worries. Because of them, I am able to student teach without having to work in my last year of college. They have lifted 100 pounds off my shoulders. I am too grateful for this couple because they have made my experience at UNCG 20x better. It’s so inspiring to have complete strangers help another stranger…”
Gonzalez emulates the Freezes’ example of helping strangers. She uses her experience and bilingual abilities to serve as a mentor and tutor at FaithAction, the Center for New North Carolinians, and at Northeast High School as co-coordinator of B.O.S.S. (Bettering Ourselves and Striving for Success).
After graduation in 2016, Gonzalez continued her education as a graduate student in Spanish, obtaining a graduate assistantship.
Her appreciation never wavers:
“…thanks to kind people like the Freezes, I was able to graduate and therefore give back to the community by being an educator. Before knowing there was financial help available, higher education seemed impossible to me during high school, as I am the first in my family to graduate high school and now college…”
The path cleared by the Freezes’ generosity became a roadway for success, traveled by students like Marisa Gonzalez.
Story by Zoe Dillard, Donor Relations
Endowments provide donors with opportunities to create living legacies and touch the lives of future generations.