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.