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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Her love for giving back as a Pierce College alumna

Leticia Gonzalez-Garcia didn’t let her brain tumor stop her from being the first in her family to graduate college and accomplish her academic veterinarian goals. 

Gonzalez-Garcia attended Taft High School and started her college career at Pierce College taking veterinarian courses. She then transferred to Colorado State University and spent five years there, where she studied veterinary medicine. In 2013, she began her veterinarian career.  

“My main thing was to not give up on my dream because I wanted to also be an example for my future, my family,” Gonzalez-Garcia said. “[I wanted to] leave a legacy and leave footprints on this earth, and I feel like it was a gift given to me. So, I just didn’t want to give up. I just wanted to keep fighting.” 

Gonzalez-Garcia was in her first year of veterinarian school when she found out about her brain tumor and had to leave the program. 

“It was tough, and I think that passion is what really drives a person,” Gonzalez-Garcia said. “[By] having passion, nothing can stop you in this world, and I really believe that.” 

Being the first in her family to graduate and being a veterinarian kept her motivated to never give up with everything she has accomplished. 

“Coming back and giving back was my end goal and the fact that this opportunity was proposed to me made me very excited about coming back and giving back,” Gonzalez-Garcia said.

Gonzalez-Garcia had the opportunity to come to Pierce to teach many inspiring students in the RVT program. She said inspiring and giving back to students was her main goal.

Charlotte Kidd, a senior in the RVT program, plans to specialize as an equine RVT. Kidd said Gonzalez-Garcia taught her the importance of always practicing with perfection.

“Setting yourself up for success from the beginning is crucial to becoming a great RVT, as you will always to the highest standard in everything you do,” Kidd said. “She is extremely motivational and always wants the best for her students.” 

Gonzalez Garcia said she was the first to graduate on both sides of her family. She said that because she initially did not have the knowledge base, school was challenging for her.

“It did not come easy, nothing was ever handed to me,” Gonzalez-Garcia said.  “I feel like I can relate to a lot of students because I had to work to pay my way to school, and I had to study hard, long hours. It just didn’t come naturally.” 

Gonzalez-Garcia’s passion for the students and helping them has helped many students accomplish their steps to success. 

Rachel Leitner is a senior RVT student who wants to work in rehabilitating endangered species. She said Gonzalez-Garcia inspires her.

“One of the things I’ve learned from Dr. Gonzalez is the power of perseverance. She went to veterinary school concurrently with a brain tumor and never let it stop her from accomplishing her goals,” Leitner said. 

Gonzalez-Garcia said that her experience at Pierce has shaped her career and how she navigates life.

“I love that Pierce is a big family, and I love that you work with different diversities and cultures,” Gonzalez-Garcia said. “I developed study groups and that really helped me to learn other ways of the material. Some people are very well equipped with study skills, and working together is what I encourage my students to do. It’s helped me get through.” 

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