Cristina González Alcalá is a Community Investment Officer for the Akron Community Foundation. She explains how she came to the United States from Mexico and everything she has achieved since then. Her energy and mentality of seeking help and taking every opportunity have taken her far and she wants others to know that everything bad or good will pass eventually and that you don’t lose anything from trying.
“You have to continue to be curious, keep wanting to innovate, venture, and discover.”
Did you have mentors and do you think they helped you achieve your goals?
Of course, life gives you mentors and in Mexico, we call them angels or whatever you want, but of course I have. Thank God I always had people who supported me, who believed in me, I say, starting with my mom and my family, of course, but my mom always giving me positive lessons, always saying that I could do everything, always supporting me. […]
The truth is that sometimes people come into your life, and maybe at the moment you do not see them as mentors, maybe you see them, as friends, as good people who come to help you, but you have to become aware sometimes in those moments and say “you know what? This person can help me,” and one of the things that thank God is easier for me is to ask for help. When I had these relationships I was always the type to be like “you know what? Can you help me with this, can you help me with that or what do you think of this? What do you think of that?” Always without shame. So I asked them please help me and thank God they helped me. So I always anchored myself in people who were and are there throughout my life.
Have you always been outgoing and open to opportunities?
Well, I’ll tell you, my mom–she always pushed me, she has supported me, you can do everything, you can be everything. So always in my mind one of the things that I always communicate to everyone and I trust to them is that my mom, one of the messages she gave me was “You’ve already been told no” right? So with that, I’d go off into the world. If I ask if they will sponsor me for a tournament, if they tell me no, what do I lose? What do I lose by asking them or what do I lose by going to do that program, what do I lose by enrolling here? I mean, it’s always about what I can gain because getting a no, it’s already the status quo right? And what you gain or get is how you disrupt the status quo. So that mentality kinda helped me to know that even though something didn’t go well, well, ok, because I already knew that maybe it wasn’t going to go well, but if it went well, then awesome, because I got something, I won something, I learned something. What matters the most is that you learn and that passion I always had to continue learning, I attribute to my grandfather…]
What does STEM mean to you?
For me STEM… it’s good, sure, it’s science, technology, engineering, and math, but it’s also curiosity. I say it’s mostly curiosity, it’s the curiosity to know how things work and curiosity to want to be someone who can influence how things work or how to fix things. So in science and technology, I have mathematics and engineering, for me, I summarize it as curiosity and that is what it means to me. We must continue to be curious, continue to want to innovate, venture, and discover.