At the age of 25, Jennifer Gonzales is doing her part to help her adopted home of San Jose, California. As a council assistant to Councilmember Rose Herrera she is an active member in the San Jose city politics.
Gonzales story began in Elk Groove, California with her older sister and brother and her two loving parents. But when it came time to apply for colleges she knew only two things.
“I wanted to be exposed to different cultures and I wanted to study kinesiology,” Gonzales stated.
With that, she started her college career at San Jose State University. But like most students, after two years she started to doubt her major and knew she needed a change.
“I realized that I had no passion for kinesiology. That sports were more of hobby for me not a career path. I loved my political science classes though,” Gonzales stated.
One of her professors invited her sit in on some classes and she soon changed her major to Political Science. During her time at San Jose State, she intern for Vice Mayor Nguyen and worked part time at an after school program call After-School All- Stars.
During her internship she was in charge of a community event called “Operation Prom Dress.” Unlike her classmates whose internship consisted of pouring coffee, Gonzales was on the phone with community members and researching ways to get dresses donated.
“I had eight months to plan this event, and it felt like work not an internship. I stayed in this internship by entire senior year and I was proud of myself,” Gonzales stated.
After graduation she continued her political career path in the island of Oahu, Hawaii. There she worked on the homeless and environmental issues that affected the island. Gonzales had to learn how to do research the old fashion way, with books. The island hadn’t fully digitalized all the documents and Gonzales spent many hours in a research room reading through books.
She made her way back to Silicon Valley after one summer in Hawaii. She then contacted her mentor about a job offer in Councilmember Herrera’s office.
“I like to think of my mentors as my professional friends who care about where I am going. I consider my sister a mentor as well,” Gonzales shared.
Everyday she gets to help out her community by working with public safety department, with the mayor’s gang prevention task force and has to manage interns. But her story doesn’t end here.
“I would like to go back to school, maybe law school. I want to continue to represent people that can relate to me, be a voice for the Filipino community and possibly run a nonprofit,” Gonzales stated.
Gonzales would like a career that gives her the opportunities to work on issues that are important to her. Those issues include public education, the teacher/student ration, supporting students and having more free early preschool and youth programs.
Gonzales final piece of life advice is that ‘heaven is the height’ and ‘to recognize everyday super hero’s.’ Well Ms. Jennifer Gonzales you are one of those everyday super heroes and heaven is the height for you.