Wendolin Gonzalez

Hometown: High Point, N.C.
College: Architecture, Arts, and Planning
Major: Architecture
Year: 2021

Wendolin Gonzalez’s thirst for knowledge is so great she earned an associate’s degree while attending high school.

“I wanted to take courses which were more challenging than the ones I had taken before,” says the High Point, N.C., native, who is in her sophomore year at Cornell. “Also, considering my financial background, it was an opportunity to gain education from courses which would normally need tuition to support. I understood that my mom could not afford to send me to college, so I was very conscious of the need to support my education by myself.”

Wendi aspired to push herself further. She set her sights on Cornell because of its excellence in architecture.

“One of the primary reasons I chose architecture was a desire to create a positive impact in the community,” she says. “I knew that I wanted to enter a multidisciplinary field where I could continue learning while making concrete differences in the world around me.”

She is already acting on her desire to create a positive impact through her participation in several student organizations, including Building Communities, in which AAP students design a project for the local community.

“Through Building Communities, we partner with organizations to design and create homes for those in need,” Wendi said. “This semester we are coordinating with Cornell Hillel. We have designed a sukkah, which is currently under construction.”

The first in her family to attend college, Wendi appreciates the opportunities education opens for herself and her siblings.

“The value of education is really high in one’s life, and often it is financial means that restrict many students from pursuing their dreams through higher education,” Wendi said. “I hope to make the most of this opportunity so I can provide for my siblings and they can go on to achieve the education they want.”

Wendi draws inspiration from her mother, who emigrated from Mexico at age 17. “My mother was the person who taught me that I must work hard to achieve what I want, and I look up to her every day as she works to provide the best she can for our family. I hope I can make her proud one day.”