The Carmine & Frank Mangini Foundation

Gema Gabriela Guzman Grillo

Gema Gabriela Guzman Grillo

“I used this challenge to motivate me to achieve my dreams instead of allowing it to become my nightmares.”

When Gema Gabriela Guzman Grillo first came to the United States, she had to leave behind the tropical climate of her home country, her friends and the comfort of speaking the main language. As a Spanish speaker, Gema was placed in the “English Language Learner” classes when she first arrived at Bulkeley High School, but with determination, Gema was taking Advanced Placement and honors level classes in no time. It is not easy to come to a new country, especially if there is a language barrier, but Gema persevered. She not only did what was asked of her, but constantly challenged herself to do even more, and this earned her a top ranking spot in her graduating class. Gema has not only overcome countless obstacles, but has turned them into something positive as she explains in her quote above which is telling of the determination and passion she has toward both her academics and family. Gema will be attending the University of Connecticut to study biological sciences next year. She plans to be a nurse and has a personal connection to and preference of working with Lupus patients.