With a minor in French, Gabreelynn studied abroad in Pau, France, in the spring and summer of 2013. During her time abroad, she gained essential skills that benefited her personal growth and professional life, and strengthened her sense of independence. She became more adventurous in the food she ate, the activities she participated in, and the professional opportunities she pursued.
After her Gilman experience, Gabreelynn went to graduate school, studying community mental health. Being a Gilman Scholar “open[ed] the door for many other scholarship opportunities” during her academic career, such as the School of Education Scholarship, South Bay Business Women’s Association Scholarship, and Gilman Scholarship. She was also accepted into two honor societies— Kappa Delta Pi, Honors in Education and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars— and the knowledge, skills, and attitudes she took away from France continued to influence her post-Gilman life.
Her leadership ability was one gained skill that stood out from the rest. In May 2016, Gabreelynn participated in a mission trip to Managua, Nicaragua, as a graduate student through Loyola Marymount’s Alternative Breaks program. “Being associated with Gilman provided the opportunity to help assist co-leading the trip,” and her experience in Pau also better prepared her to interact with the Adelita community, promote mental health awareness, and learn and embrace the culture in Nicaragua.
She also leveraged her leadership skills in her current work at Covenant House California (CHC), a nonprofit youth homeless shelter where she works in a dual role a case manager and therapist. At CHC, Gabreelynn also runs a Women’s Empowerment group, which focuses on sisterhood, positive self-image, maintaining healthy relationships, and helping shape young women into all they are called to be. Outside her professional life, Gabreelynn took upon another active leadership role mentoring girls at her church.
In addition to leadership, Gabreelynn also improved her public speaking skills via weekly class presentations in a foreign language while in Pau. These skills proved to be of great value when she shared her stories and inspired others in her post-Gilman life. After she returned from France, she used her developed speaking skills and ability to influence to help people from underserved communities of color study abroad via her work and her engagement with her home community.
“The world is so vast and beautiful, and travel can be achieved with proper planning and budgeting. Most minorities shy away from travel because they think it’s too expensive, that it’s unattainable, and that’s not true.”