Ashley Lanuza - San Gabriel Mission High School Alumna, Class of 2016
I graduated from San Gabriel Mission High School in 2016 to pursue pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, after taking an anthropology class and participating in the University of California, San Francisco’s Inside UCSF Program, I realized the medical field was not my calling. What called to me were the arts, particularly the written and the cinematic. Now a Psychology major with a double minor in Asian American Studies and Film Studies, I’m pursuing a career as a screenwriter, psychologist, and educator.
My love for filmmaking comes from high school with Mr. Landinguin’s film class and Mrs. Heilweil’s holistic French language course. However, my love for writing came from an early age at St. Bernard, and then cultivated at Mission by Ms. Disney, when I was a Writing Intern for 4 years and wrote for the Mid Valley Newspaper. My Mission experience in the written and cinematic art gave me the passion and confidence to pursue screenwriting in college. I’ve produced a short film since graduating Mission, interned at a film production company specializing in biopics, and am now a Scripted Development Intern with BBC (British Broadcasting Company) Studios, producers of notable shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “Doctor Who.”
During my career as a screenwriter, I plan to take night classes, inspired by Mission’s Dr. Callejas and Dr. Sallo, to pursue a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and eventually open a private practice to help children whose parents have gone through a divorce.
During my time at UCLA, I joined Samahang Pilipino, the premiere Pilipino organization on campus. Through Samahang, I grew educated in Pilipino community conditions and found different branches of leadership. I joined SP Advancing Community Empowerment (SPACE), which allowed me to counsel high school students in under resourced communities in Van Nuys, Carson, and Torrance. I was also a family head for Samahang’s Mentorship Program, along with being a mentor. Outside of the Pilipino Community, I worked for the dorm’s social media specialist, curating graphic designs for social media platforms and promoting events through their Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. However, I now have a position as a graphic designer for the dorm Housing and Hospitality services.
Throughout college, I also took part as a contributing journalist for the Daily Bruin, a content creator for Kiwi Magazine, and a cast member for Hooligan Theater Company’s Spring Showcase. Currently, besides being an intern for BBC and designer for Housing, I am a contributing writer for Odyssey Online and plan to join an Asian American improvisational Theater Company and the 2019 Pilipino Culture Night.
Mission gave me a sense of community and belonging I tried seeking in college. I found it in the spaces I have involved myself in, and being a small fish in a large pond has been humbling, eye opening, and life changing. I have found an independence, confidence, and strength in myself to succeed.
SGMHS Alumna Pursues PhD at Texas Tech University
San Gabriel Mission High School Alumna, Angelica Carmona, Class of 2013 recently graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. While at the Mount, she was the recipient of the W. M. Keck Foundation Endowed Scholarship. In talking with this accomplished alum, Angelica credits her high school math and chemistry teacher, Dr. Marielle Sallo, “who was a strong advocate for women and minorities in STEM,” with helping her decide to pursue a STEM degree.
According to Angelica, “when I started my undergraduate education, my educational goal was to go to medical school and become a pediatrician.” A semester later, “I believe that my career goal changed for the better, and will entail something that I am extremely passionate about. I never would have pictured myself in a laboratory wearing a lab coat, safety goggles, gloves, and conducting research. Now I find myself being a research enthusiast and finding an excuse to be in the lab and doing what I love most – science- and presenting my findings at several regional and national research conferences.”
Her research started her freshmen year and by her senior year, Angelica served as the Head Peer Mentor of the research lab she was part of. Her research consisted of “synthesizing a novel phosphorus-based surfactant as a more environmentally friendly alternative for oil spill clean-ups.” This research experience definitely reassured her she was on the right path, doing research. In the Spring of 2018, Angelica will be attending Texas Tech University to obtain her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She will be “conducting research and studying a rare pediatric neurodegenerative disease called Batten’s disease.” She hopes to “help contribute to the discoveries and new technologies that will help save lives and provide innovative solutions to complex diseases.”
Besides her impressive research at the Mount, Angelica also has been involved in other research. She had the opportunity to participate in the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Academy at the City of Hope and for the past two years she has served as a Title III STEM Grant Peer Mentor and Tutor. As a mentor and tutor, Angelica was able to “provide tutoring services in Chemistry and Biology and assisted underclassmen with transitioning into college.” She was also a part of the STEM Recruitment and STEM Speaker Series. According to Angelica, “in being part of these committees, I was able to attend local high schools (including Mission) middle schools, and elementary schools to bring STEM awareness to students, most of whom were inner-city minorities underrepresented in the STEM fields. “ In addition, Angelica spearheaded a Research Presentation Training Program where she taught university underclassmen the foundation they would need in order to be successful in their research lab projects, including proven techniques to present their research with poise and professionalism.
I am a young woman of Depth and Integrity; both these moral values were infused in my high school education, but redefined during my tenure in the Bay Area. I was placed in a university environment that contradicted its purpose and mission: to preach diversity, social equality, and serve world communities. In the midst of the most challenging time in my life, my surroundings cemented my fervency in social awareness, activism, and justice for the voiceless. I am indebted the Mission values of Depth and Integrity that inspired a strong sense of reverence for all individuals and thirst for the truth in any given situation. These values will infinitely be a part of my purpose to spread global equality and thirst to change the world.