Graciela Brinkman-Hernandez, of San Diego, graduates from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a major in women and gender studies and a minor in social justice and will give deliver the morning spring commencement speech on behalf of her class May 14.
The commencement ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. at UW Oshkosh’s Kolf Sports Center.
While at UW Oshkosh, Brinkman-Hernandez was president of the Student Organization of Latinos and was involved in the InterTribal Student Organization and Social Justice Club. Brinkman-Hernandez also worked on campus as a Student Titan Employment Program (STEP) intern in the Equity and Affirmative Action office and as a mentor for minority students in the Titan Advantage Program.
Brinkman-Hernandez left an abusive home and moved to Wisconsin on her own when she was 16 to pursue something more in her life—a high school and college education. Her love for education led her to pursue a degree at UW Oshkosh and Brinkman-Hernandez said it was because of the mentors she had that she was able to achieve academic excellence.
“Don’t let the past define you,” Brinkman-Hernandez said. “You’re the author of your own story and the next chapters of your own life. Your past isn’t who you have to become.”
After graduation, Brinkman-Hernandez plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming a congresswoman to make social change on a larger scale.