Victor Gonzalez Zapata Named to 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team

Thursday, April 18, 2024
Victor Zapata

GateWay Community College student Victor Gonzalez Zapata was selected to the 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team for outstanding academic performance, leadership, and community service. His selection is a testament to his determination and attentiveness to excellence.

Currently pursuing an Associate in Science degree with a concentration in computer science at GateWay Community College, Zapata is committed to his studies. His passion for computer science stems from a deep-seated love of working with computers and understanding how they are programmed. Zapata aspires to contribute to cybersecurity efforts by emphasizing immediate security solutions and long-term defense plans to preserve the integrity of virtual environments.

Before enrolling at GateWay, Zapata worked in the banking industry but ultimately realized his true passion was in the technology sector. Driven by his interest in computer systems and programming languages, Zapata decided to begin his educational journey at GateWay Community College because of its Cisco Network Administration courses. 

Zapata is the first in his family to pursue higher education. Finding academic guidance throughout the early phases of his academic career was one of the biggest challenges he had to overcome. As a first-generation student, it was difficult for him to seek advice from his parents due to their limited knowledge of the educational system and language limitations. Yet, he did not allow discouragement to get in his way of finding help and direction. 

At GateWay, he found an environment supportive of academic pursuits and personal development. Zapata expressed gratitude to the instructors and the Honors Program. “The instructors at GateWay have been outstanding. They are constantly available to offer the extra help and direction I want for my academic path.” He also thanked Carlos Apodaca, the Honor Program Coordinator at GateWay, for believing in him. “Carlos's support and guidance have been crucial in helping me achieve my goals and inspire me to pursue greatness for my community and myself,” said Zapata.

Overcoming challenges as a first-generation student and DACA beneficiary, Zapata emphasized the importance of seeking help. He shared, “It is vital to continue to have confidence in oneself and one's skills. Have faith in the process and know you can conquer any challenge with effort and commitment. Remain dedicated to your objectives, maintain your fortitude in the face of difficulty, and never lose sight of your extraordinary potential.”

Looking ahead, Zapata plans on transferring to Arizona State University to pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science after completing his associate degree at GateWay. He hopes to complete a master's and doctoral degree in the same field. After fulfilling his academic objectives, Zapata aims to give back to his community as a mentor, instructor, and advocate. In addition to mentoring others, he hopes to create scholarship opportunities for students facing similar challenges. 

Initially, Zapata had doubts about his potential to be on the All-Arizona Academic Team. However, the constant encouragement from others and their confidence in his abilities made him reconsider. His selection for the 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team is a catalyst for his future success. “For me, it means so much to be an honoree of the All-Arizona Academic Team. It represents optimism and the achievement of my goals. With this chance, I am embarking on a road to realize my dreams, and I am thankful for that,” said Zapata.

GateWay congratulates Zapata on this outstanding achievement and looks forward to seeing him continue to excel in his endeavors. His inclusion in the 2024 All-Arizona Academic Team represents his hard work and continuous pursuit of a brighter future.