Paula has a BA in Political Science and Marketing from the University of Houston, and plans on applying to MBA programs in the coming years.
THE SPIRITU 4
HEAD, HEART, STOMACH, & FEET
My family was forced to flee our motherland, Colombia, when I was 10 years old. Like many families today in the caravan, we sought asylum because we were not safe back home. We were lucky to have been granted the status, but rebuilding our lives without any of our belongings was very hard. However, this is when I learned that things are simply things, and nothing matters more than your family and your health.
After 8 years, right before president Obama’s reelection, we became citizens. And just two years later, during my senior year in college at the University of Houston, I was recruited by the White House to serve the Obama Administration. I get emotional just thinking about the fact that my grandparents left their villages with nothing - sometimes not even shoes - and then got educated, became doctors and lawyers, and paved the way for my parents to pursue their dreams, and ultimately for me to pursue my dreams. For me to be standing in the Oval Office with President Obama thanking me for my service is truly unreal.
Now, I am back home in Houston, TX working in Tech at HP, Inc. From these experiences, I have learned that nothing matters more to me than being able to give back and help others find new opportunities.
Wow, what a journey! Can you tell us some things about you that no one might know?
I am actually an introvert even though most think I am an extrovert! I need alone time to decompress. These days, I am also so proud of the progress that I have made.
Your story is truly inspirational. How do you keep your life in perspective?
I think about all of the sacrifices that my parents and other ancestors made in order for me to be where I am. I am passionate about serving the community and helping other young people of color find their paths in high school, and beyond.