Ana Gonzalez ’11
The first in her immediate family to attend college, Ana Gonzalez came to Princeton unsure of what she wanted to study. “Princeton simply offered an unbelievable wealth of resources and classes through which I could explore my varied interests,” she says. “And Princeton’s amazing no-loan financial aid package sealed the deal.”
Gonzalez eagerly pursued new intellectual passions, beginning with a nine-week intensive course in Arabic, followed by two years of course work largely dedicated to political and economic topics. “It was absolutely thrilling to discover surprising new sources of inspirations, such as the class ‘International Development,’” she recalls.
Enrolled in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Gonzalez also earned a certificate in Near Eastern studies. She plans to attend law school where she’ll focus on international law with the goal of becoming an advocate for those “without a voice.”
Gonzalez also realized how important it was to take action about some of the things she was learning. “When I viewed a documentary about modern-day slavery, I knew right then I had to, and could, do something,” she says. Fueled by a sense of purpose, Gonzalez formed the campus group Free the Slaves. “Most people don’t realize that slavery is still common practice in some areas of the world," Gonzalez says. "I wanted to educate people about this unfortunate reality.”
Explains Gonzalez, “And that’s what I found so great about Princeton; it was more than simply finding my passion, it was having the opportunity to turn my convictions into action.”
As an active member of Princeton Faith and Action (PFA), Gonzalez was grateful for the fellowship the group provided. “PFA provided a venue to explore faith and ask tough questions,” Gonzalaz explains. “One very memorable experience I had with PFA was attending a debate between Dinesh D’Souza and Princeton University professor Peter Singer over whether morality can exist in the absence of faith. I’m grateful that Princeton provided a forum where these, and other kinds of conversations, could take place.”
Throughout her undergraduate years, Gonzalez maintained close contact with her parents and two brothers in San Francisco, despite the distance from Princeton. “My parents are my biggest supporters,” Gonzalez says. “And they benefitted from my experience. As my own horizons opened, theirs did too.”