Public Service

Gustavo Gonzalez built community through Mi Pueblo

The senior Carolina Covenant and Woods scholar also studied abroad and did behavioral research.

Gustavo Gonzales wearing suit in front of plants at the botanical garden.
(submitted photo)

Carolina Covenant scholar Gustavo Gonzalez graduates in May 2024 with majors in psychology and exercise and sport science. Gonzalez stayed busy throughout his four years at Carolina — including his involvement in Mi Pueblo, the largest Latinx organization on campus.

“Mi Pueblo is a great opportunity for students like myself to build community here on campus,” said Gonzalez, a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina. “Especially moving away from home and not really knowing many people, it was important to find space and attend fun events with other great people.”

Gonzalez served in several leadership positions within Mi Pueblo, including as co-chair of health and action and co-director of outreach. He helped redevelop a mentorship group to pair newer students with junior- and senior-year peers.

“It’s great to have a peer to talk to, to get tips and learn more about classes and other majors — to just have a friend on campus,” he said.

Gonzalez also worked as a research assistant in UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School’s Behavioral Lab, part of the Center for Decision Research — an opportunity he learned about through Mi Pueblo. Because of this experience, Gustavo said he is now looking into doctoral programs in organizational behavior.

He said one of his most exciting experiences was studying abroad in Spain through Honors Carolina. He spent the summer after his junior year in Madrid and Barcelona, where he took two classes on how technology and data are used in sports to help improve player performance and attract more fans. As part of his classes, he got to meet with soccer, rugby and basketball teams.

“We also learned about the history and culture of the cities, which was fascinating,” Gonzalez said. “It was my first time being out of the United States by myself. The classes were so enriching, and I got to experience new food and visit cultural sites.” Gonzalez noted he particularly enjoyed attending a soccer game and the architecture in Barcelona.

He thinks of his time at Carolina as being a part of a wide range of communities.

“I got to be a part of so many communities — Honors Carolina, the Carolina Covenant and Woods scholars programs, Mi Pueblo and the Carolina Latinx Center, the exercise and sport science department and the Behavioral Lab at Kenan-Flagler. I met so many remarkable advisers, mentors and friends. If I’m ever in need of guidance, I have an entire network of people to reach out to.”

Ultimately, Gonzalez said he chose Carolina because it felt like home. “I came to campus, and I knew this is the place I wanted to be. My path hasn’t been linear, but at the end of the day, finding those opportunities and interests led to unique experiences that allowed me to find my path.”