USU

The University Student Union Presents

What’s Your Story?

Featuring the Students of the USU

The University Student Union’s “What’s Your Story?” is a fun monthly series of quick Q&As that focus on the interesting lives and work experiences of its dynamic and diverse students. Without these talented people, the USU simply could not provide all of the events and programs it offers CSUN students every year. And since we have more than 300 student employees and board members working together, you just know they’ll have a lot of stories to tell. Let’s go meet some!

September 2020

Gemma Jimenez Gonzales (She/They), Student DREAM CEnter Assistant

USU: What is your position with the DREAM Center of the USU?

Gemma: I assist undocumented students in navigating the school system. I also co-facilitate our coffee talks where we have conversations on wellness and general check-ins with our students. The DREAM Center joining the USU felt so natural because we share the same goal to create a community space for all students.

USU: After graduating, what career interests you?

Gemma: As an urban planner, I want to engage folks to build and develop vulnerable communities to be safer and more vibrant. Often outsiders come in and make decisions for those communities, but I want to take what I’ve learned and bring it back to my community.

USU: What project have you done for the USU that makes you most proud?

Gemma: I oversaw creating programs and sashes for Undocu-graduation and it made me so happy to see the graduates look at the shout-outs for them. It was an honor to see so many folks be optimistic for the future and I was proud to give them a little gift to celebrate themselves.

USU: Who is someone you aspire to be like?

Gemma: Audre Lord is someone I’ve always praised. I admire how she connects to what it means to be here, what it means to have community, what love is, and her determination to live in a world where she chooses to be her full authentic self. /p>

USU: What do you do to help de-stress?

Gemma: Recently, I’ve been building a relationship with herbs. I have my own little garden where I cultivate the land. It’s so great to see your hard work flourish after harvesting and being able to share it with others. I love spending time with nature, it’s beautiful!

USU: Which musician would you want to sit in a front row seat to see?

Gemma: This is hard to choose! I think I would watch Blood Orange open for Solange.

  • What's Your Story September 2020 — Gemma Jimenez Gonzales
  • What's Your Story September 2020 — Gemma Jimenez Gonzales

Liliana Palafox (She/Her/Hers), Student DREAM CEnter Assistant

USU: What do you do at the USU?

Liliana: I help students who are from mixed status families, undocumented or need any support at home. Since everything is virtual, I handle more complicated cases like financial aid for undocumented students. I also help teach the new interns.

USU: What project have you done for the USU that you’re most proud of?

Liliana: I’m really proud of the Dependents Binder. It includes important resources for students who have dependents. I complied all of the resources on CSUN campus as well as off campus. I wanted to advocate for students with dependents, like myself.

USU: What attracted you to working at the DREAM Center?

Liliana: I’m from a mixed status family. Growing up, I had to discover the best resources for my family since I was the oldest. I want to be a resource for my two younger sisters on how to navigate higher education. This job is perfect for me because I can help other students.

USU: What is something you are looking forward to at the moment?

Liliana: My sister’s 19th birthday! I’m still putting her gift together and I’m excited for her to see it.

USU: Who is someone you aspire to be like?

Liliana: My grandmother. She played a huge role in my life and I admired her willingness to push the family forward.

USU: Which musician would you sit in a front row seat to see?

Liliana: Lady Gaga. I’d love to watch her perform my favorite song, “Paparazzi”.

  • What's Your Story September 2020 — Liliana Palafox
  • What's Your Story September 2020 — Liliana Palafox