Arizona GEAR UP alumna Rachell Peña graduated from San Luis High School in 2018, and now has big plans for the future.
Rachell got involved with Arizona GEAR UP during her freshman year in high school. “It’s a very beneficial program, and everyone who can take part should take full advantage,” Rachell said. “GEAR UP helped me with applying for college and scholarships and all those details I didn’t know about since my mom hadn’t gone to college.”
At a very young age, Rachell thought she wanted to become a pastry chef because she loved the design and artistry of occupation. Unfortunately, she didn’t enjoy the kitchen so she set out to learn more about other career options with her GEAR UP coordinator.
“I knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know what I needed to do to get there or what I wanted to do,” Rachell said. “My GEAR UP coordinator really helped me explore career options and told me to keep an open mind.”
Rachell and her GEAR UP coordinator discussed college majors like math because Rachell is such a math wiz, but she was quick to say she didn’t really like math. Then, in her sophomore year she took a computer class. She found that she loved the design work, but she didn’t enjoy coding. Following more conversations with her coordinator, Rachell discovered the field of graphic design, and it caught her interest.
“If I hadn’t had GEAR UP, I feel like my career options would have been more limited. My school coordinators helped me learn about careers based on my strengths, and they helped me come up with back up plans,” said Rachell.
Now, a junior at ASU, Rachell majors in graphic design and minors in both animation and game development. Her plans include working as a graphic designer and animator in the gaming industry.
One more thing. Rachel is on the lookout for internship opportunities to build on her work experience. Do you know someone who might be looking for a motivated and talented upstart in graphic design? Let us know, and we’ll connect you with Rachell.