Gabriela Carolina Pereda


Cincinnati, OH

Academic Interests

Technology, Business, Entrepreneurship, Journalism, Psychology

Fun Fact

I’ve traveled to more than twenty countries since I was born!

For the past eighteen years, I’ve lived in the comfort of my home in Cincinnati blessed with a roof over my head, a meal on my plate three times a day, and a town where I feel safe. Yet, this is all thanks to my parent’s decision to move here after my father’s kidnapping in our native country, Venezuela. Meanwhile, my extended family lives in a nation where they wait days or weeks for water and electricity to run through their houses; one where they forage grocery stores to find their next meals due to the ever-growing humanitarian crisis. At the very
heart of it, my awareness of the heaven that I live in compared to the hell that my own relatives reside in has shaped who I am as a person, how I think, and what I value.

I no longer overlook everyday privileges because I understand that many communities with corrupt governments don’t share my same blessings. Instead, I wake up each and every day and choose to observe the world with an appreciative eye. My heritage has also fostered my understanding of the importance of taking advantage of the opportunities I am presented with because I recognize that individuals without those opportunities yearn for them. Most importantly, my identity as a Venezuelan-American provides me with a strong sense of purpose in life: to serve as a role model for future Latina generations by illustrating that our
ethnicity and gender as Hispanic women act as driving forces for our professional success, rather than as inhibitors.

Personally, I hope to mentor younger generations through the realm of STEM, because I truly believe that it is oftentimes difficult for underrepresented individuals to find role models who think, look, and act like them in the professional setting. Such mentors provide essential comfort, encouragement, and can promote success.

When I first arrived at Duke, I thought that I wanted to fill this mentorship gap by studying to become an approachable, leading figure in the field of computer science. Yet as I’ve taken more and more courses, joined more clubs, and had more time to reflect throughout the past few months of the college transition, I’ve realized that I am not entirely sure if studying solely computer science is what I want to do for the rest of my life. And, I know for a fact, that that is completely okay. Although some of my peers may know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives, it is completely fair and understandable to share that, I simply don’t know exactly what I want my life path to be. Yet, what I do know is that I am super interested in the intersection of humanity and technology, I love to learn new languages, I love to travel, I love learning about business, I love to write, and most importantly, I love people, and am fascinated by human relationships. And, I know that although it is hard, it is possible to find a way to thread all these passions into one.

Therefore, over the next few semesters at Duke, I hope to take advantage of the liberal arts education to truly understand how I can encapsulate all my passions, interests, and dreams into one study; so that I can carve my own path—a path that excites me, pushes me to constantly become the best version of myself possible, and helps the world become a better place.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

Being a student at Duke never feels like I am simply an accessory to the university. Instead, it truly feels like I am part of a family. Here, the students, professors, faculty, and administrators alike all care about you. Everyone is approachable, everyone cares for you, and everyone wants what is best for you. Such support, care, and attention make Duke so much more than just a school, it is instead a home, a family, and a place where I feel grounded, yet have the opportunity to grow and evolve.

Gabriela Carolina Pereda
Gabriela Carolina Pereda