GateWay Graduate Jenny Gonzales Finds Her Calling in Respiratory Care 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024
Jenny Gonzales

Jenny Gonzales is about to graduate from GateWay Community College with her Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Care. She's reflecting on her college experience and what led her down this career path.

Gonzales’s connection with GateWay began during high school years when she enrolled at GateWay to earn college credits. The welcoming campus atmosphere made a lasting impression on her.  She knew GateWay would become her academic home.

Initially drawn to the field of surgical technology, Gonzales earned a certificate in sterile processing from GateWay. Yet, her career aspirations took a transformative turn during the height of the pandemic when she worked in a hospital.

“I saw how short-staffed the hospital was, and seeing people sick and dying made me realize this is my calling. I can help, too. "I was meant to do this," Gonzales recalls.

An encounter with a respiratory therapist in the trauma bay led Gonzales to a realization: she wanted to pursue a career field where she could impact patient lives. It was then she decided to enroll in the Respiratory Care program at GateWay.

During her time at GateWay, Gonzales had what she calls "a true college experience." Supportive instructors, dedicated advisors, and caring staff created a community that nurtured her growth.

“All my instructors are so passionate. I feel like the program wouldn't be what it is without them. They were a main part of my experience here,” explains Gonzales.

Gonzales attributes much of her success to her mother’s unwavering support. As an immigrant, she sacrificed to give her daughter a better life. When she walks across the stage to get her degree, Gonzales says her accomplishments are as much her mom's as her own.

After graduation, Gonzales is eager to start her career as a Respiratory Therapist. One day she hopes to return to GateWay as a respiratory instructor to pay forward the knowledge and support she received. 

Her advice to her fellow graduates is one of gratitude and encouragement. "Take the leadership skills and compassion we've learned at GateWay," said Gonzales. "Use them to make a real difference in the world."