Content Skip to content.
San Diego State University

Gates to Success logo



Kelly Nguyen

Kelly Nguyen


Major: Public Health


Year in school: 2nd Year


Involvements: Rotaract, Peer Leadership Consultant Program, Weber’s Honors College


What motivates you: My future self is my motivation. My potential and what I envision myself achieving is what motivates me. It gives me the drive and determination to keep working towards my goals. 


Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success: I chose to be actively involved with Gates to Success bec first generation student, seeing how much I have benefitted from these types of programs, I strive to pay it forward and empower students just as I have been empowered.

Favorite Aztec Memory: APSA FamBam competition


 Read about Kelly in Newscenter!


Contact Kelly:

Vice President


Marinda Le

Marinda Le


Major: B.S. in Molecular Biology and B.A. in Communications


Year in school: 2nd Year


Involvements: Intervarsity, Physician's Assistant Student Association, Alpha Phi Omega

What motivates you:
My mother is my biggest inspiration. As a woman who juggles working a full-time job, taking her second chance at a college education, and taking care of her family, she has taught me the art of time-management. Learning from her, I have begin utilizing my time into investing into my future and life. I do my best to be the best student, leader, and friend I can be. My most-valued lesson I have learned from her is to balance my life out and make time to enjoy my "youth" and to continue to explore new passions and interests. Her support keeps me going through even the hardships that life may bring.

Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success: During my first year of college, I wasn't able take full advantage of some of the opportunities around me because I wasn't informed about them. It was only until I found myself within a community of older student mentors and supportive friends within SDSU that I found myself more aware of these opportunities. I have become more actively involved on campus since my 1st year. I chose to be actively involved in Gates because I am a 1st generation student who has overcome great difficulty in pursuing opportunity and believe that most students are unable to find the resources and opportunities they need because they are not informed well enough. There are so many opportunities out there to gain experience that first generation students just don't know about. I want to be able to help bridge the gap for them and help these students find the resources they need to find their full potential.

Favorite Aztec Memory: My favorite memory was my first Aztec basketball game my freshman year. I had never been to a basketball game before and this was one of my first college memories. Seeing everyone with such great red and black spirit made me feel incredibly proud to be a new Aztec. 


Contact Marinda:


Director of External Affairs


Salma Zinabidine

Salma Zinabidine


Major: Political Science

Year in school:
3rd Year

Pathways Tutor, Pre-Law Society, Intern at Ezekiel E. Cortez Law Offices

What motivates you:
Coming from a low-income family motivates me to stay in school and succeed in order to hopefully give back to my family in the near future.

Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success:
I want to take on an inspiring leadership role and challenge myself throughout my college career. I also love to meet new people and being on e-board will allow me to personally know each of the GTS members.

Favorite Aztec Memory:
Aztec football and basketball games

Contact Salma:

Director of Internal Affairs


Guadalupe Feria

Guadalupe Feria


Major: Statistics


Year in School: 2nd Year

M.E.Ch.A., AVID Alumni Association

What motivates you: There are three things that motivate me each day: my family, my community, and my cultural roots. I carry my parents’ struggle everywhere I go; their stories of migrating to the U.S. inspire me to be a better person and pursue higher education. I am also motivated to bring change to the world and I hope to see underrepresented communities rise to success. I perceive my education as a powerful tool to achieve my dreams and reach success.

Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Succes
s: As a first generation college student, I recognize the barriers one must break in order to achieve academic success. I choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success because I want to have the ability to inspire and motivate minority students to reach their highest potential by providing them with academic support, advice, and most importantly opportunities.

Favorite Aztec Memory:
S.W.A.G. Success Seminar


Contact Guadalupe:

Chief of Finance


Carlos Rodriguez

Carlos Rodriguez


Major: Business Administration - Finance

Year in School:
2nd year

GTS E-Board Officer

What motivates you:
From my family, to my friends, to every peer and acquaintance that I have encountered throughout my life, they have all motivated me and guided me towards where I am today. As a first-generation, minority college student, I have personally been aware of what it is like to struggle in college, whether it is academically, socially, or financially -- I have experienced it all. As an immigrant from the city of Tijuana, I have known what it is like to live in poverty as a student and as a citizen. Looking back at my past, my family, and my potential future in this country, I am becoming increasingly aware that not everyone has the same privilege that I do and that many others of attending a university. All of this has made me become increasingly motivated in helping others fulfill their dreams and achieve goals or dreams others have set for themselves

Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success
: When I came across this opportunity, I did not know what to expect or even think of it. It was not until I saw the true purpose behind this organization and what it dedicates to achieve is when I knew I wanted to be involved. I want to be able to help others with questions, concerns, or doubts they have about university life. To simply put it, I want to be able to take that veil of mystery and fear that college depicts. I want to be able to encourage others and make them realize that college is not just a place where you study and work hard, but rather a place where you have the ability to network and connect with many others with similar or the same interests, as well as having the time of your life, full of joy and excitement.

Favorite Aztec Memory:
Aztec Nights


Contact Carlos:

Chief of Marketing


Luis Martinez

Luis Martinez


Major: Construction Engineering

Year in school:
2nd Year

GTS E-Board Officer

What Motivates You:
I never imagined myself attending college because my parents did not attend. Now that I have the opportunity, I feel as I have started a new family tradition and I want my younger siblings and parents to know that their support is what motivates me.

Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success:
I wanted to get involved on campus, but I was not sure how to. I had the opportunity to attend Gates to Success first annual conference. There, I knew I wanted to part of Gates to Success. I want to help other students by motivating, inspiring, and supporting them just like I was by Gates to Success.

Favorite Aztec Memory:
Aztec Core Emerging Leaders Retreat


Contact Luis:

Assistant Director of External Affairs


Alec ContrerasAlec Contreras


Major: Business Administration-Finance and Spanish


Year in School: 3rd Year


Involvements: Association of Latino Professionals of Finance and Accounting, Peer Leadership Consultant, SmileyGo


What motivates you: People motivate me through the interaction that they allow me share with them. Some people are better off than others and some are worse off but there is always something to learn about the sincerity and dignity of the human being. It is for that reason that I want to see an end to marginalization and manipulation of the disadvantaged through communal and eventually global acts, so that progress continues amongst humanity.In addition, combating poverty and attempting to aid people to fulfill their ambitions despite their poor economic standing is also a moving factor for me because I was exposed to poverty growing up in Tijuana.


Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success: First, because my father was able to make it to a university despite his lack of resources, was very limited to the level of commitment that he could have while pursuing his degree. When I came across Gates to Success and their mission, I recognized the parallelism of this organization to the impact that it has on students who had similar struggles as my father. Second, it’s a win-win; you learn so much from others and you get to work and forge friendships with the most motivated on-campus org.


Favorite Aztec Memory: Aztec CORE Emerging Leader’s Retreat

Contact Alec:



Erica MosleyErica Mosley


Major: Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences



Year in school: Sophomore



Involvements: Gates to Success; Presidential Scholars



What motivates you: What motivates me is being able to say that “I beat the odds”. Despite all of the challenges, I continue to work hard and remain steadfast in my academics. I believe that in doing so, I’ll be able to achieve all of my goals.



Why you choose to be actively involved in Gatesto Success: I choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success because when I first joined I was welcomed with open arms. I want to be able to keep contributing to what makes this club so amazing. In addition to that, I love to be in a position to help and motivate others while they too reach for their goals.



Favorite Aztec memory: Living in Cuicacalli with all of my friends

Contact Erica:




Anele E. Villanueva


Major: Child and Family Development


Year in school: 2nd Year


Involvements: Child and Family Development Fundraiser Coordinator, Aztec Leadership Certificate, Assistant Teacher of the SDSU Children’s Center


What motivates you: My goals, ambition, family, and mentors are the components that motivate me to be successful in my education and schooling involvement. Also, being the first member in my family to attend a university gives me motivation to take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to reach my dreams!


Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success: Throughout my high school and college career, I have been surrounded by several great people and organizations that implemented my education and opportunities to get me to SDSU. I want to make an impact for students by being involved with Gates to Success to provide support to students and the community.


Favorite Aztec Memory: Aztec CORE Retreat


Contact Anele:



Arlynn Adamos

Arlynn Adamos


Major: Psychology


Year in School: 2nd Year


Involvements: Asian Pacific Student Alliance (APSA), Gates to Success (GTS)


What Motivates you: My family and friends motivate me. My family motivates me to succeed in my college career; as an Asian struggling for an identity within an American community, I’ve come to realize the importance of not only succeeding to meet their expectations, but for myself as an Asian American struggling to establish a presence in leadership, as well as in anything else I do. My friends motivate me to strive for what seems impossible--that I can do whatever I set my mind to because of their support, and challenge myself to overcome any obstacle I face.


Why you choose to be actively involved in Gates to Success:I chose to be actively involved in Gates to Success because I was entranced by the chance to gain leadership experience and help others adjust to college life. My first year at SDSU was hectic, but after joining APSA my second semester, I realized how much others can make a difference in another person’s life, and I thought Gates to Success was another opportunity where I could gain leadership skills and become that resource/support system that any first-generation student, or anyone, needs throughout their college life. It’s hard to adjust to a new environment, but with a helping hand, I’m sure anyone and everyone can accomplish whatever they strive to do.

Favorite Aztec Memory: APSA’s FamBam/Family Competition


Contact Arlynn: