Fueled by her loved ones' support, first-generation student Gabby Olguin ’25 discovered a wealth of opportunity to become her best self at the Mount.

gabby olguin

Hailing from Querétaro Mexico, Gabby’s largest goal in life was to make her parents proud, hoping that she can repay them one day for their unwavering support.

“Being a first-generation student can be a lot of pressure,” explains Computer Science and Graphic Design double-major, Gabby Olguin. “My goal as a first generation student is to inspire others in my family and my community to pursue a higher education. It means the world to me to have my parents feel proud of who I’ve become, and my achievements.”

One day, her high school coach reached out to the Mount’s women’s soccer coach and asked him to come to her practice to watch her play. Soon after, the coach reached out to her personally and told her she would make a great addition to the MSJ Women’s Soccer team.

The first time she ever toured the University, Gabby felt an instant sense of community and connection, and it didn’t take long for her to submit an application.

“After I got that message, I decided to apply to the Mount,” she says. “I remember I was at soccer practice and I checked my email and found out I got into the Mount. I was so excited, I called my mom right away and told her the news.”

From here, she was accompanied by faculty and staff who stood ready to answer any questions that arose for her.

“They made sure all my questions were answered. As a first-gen student, I didn’t know much. I didn’t know how FAFSA worked, or how semesters/scheduling worked and the Mount did a great job of explaining how everything worked. I’m more than happy I made the decision of coming to the Mount."

Discovering a Wealth of Opportunity in cITe Program

After her acceptance to the Mount, Gabby was ready to embark on a new path.

While deciding on a major, she received an email from her advisor Brook Batch on her eligibility to receive an $8,000 COF scholarship when enrolling into the cITe program. Here, students major in Social Computing and another major of their choosing based on a curriculum designed to connect students’ interests to technology innovation.

“I went ahead and chose to do it, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made."

From presentations to helping local mothers, choosing the cITe program has allowed Gabby to reach beyond her comfort zone to make room for positive change.

Her cITe class was granted the opportunity to present their project at the Columbus Statehouse to the Lieutenant Governor of Choose Ohio First (COF) that was chosen out of 40 other projects submitted. Choose Ohio First awards competitive scholarship funding to Ohio's colleges and universities to support students in innovative academic programs.

Thus, the project aimed to promote COF program retention through student-made technological resources created by the class.

“We also helped develop the app “Moms Thrive” which is an app that allows for mothers in the Cincinnati area to search for certain needs like diapers, food, formula, clothes, etc.,” Gabby says. “I am more than grateful to be part of such an amazing program. All the professors and advisors are amazing, the program is super flexible and it opens up a lot of doors for students,” emphasizes Gabby.

Holding passion for the arts as a Graphic Design student, Gabby is also involved in the Art Guild program open to all MSJ students, where students complete public art projects on and off campus. She had the opportunity to paint a mural at the Mount that is located in the band wing located in the Band lounge. “It was another amazing opportunity at the Mount because I was able to express my artistic abilities and that is a feature that the Mount has—it allows for students to get involved and express their talents.”

Every Challenge Contains Seeds of Opportunity

Being part of the cITe program has allowed Gabby to develop skills that will later be useful in the workplace, especially the projects she has worked on that she can incorporate on her resume.

But, her journey was not without its difficulties.

During October of 2022, she was diagnosed with H.Pylori and faced difficulties showing up for class. “My professors were super understanding of everything. They gave me time to make up work that I missed, and allowed me to step out of class if I needed to,” she reflects.

The following summer of 2023, life took another turn when Gabby’s boyfriend was sadly diagnosed with cancer. She quickly reached out to her Advisor, Brook Batch who made the schedule changes she needed to continue her program. During times of stress, her family and boyfriend continue to be her biggest motivators to help her become the best version of herself.

“[My boyfriend’s cancer] has motivated me to do better everyday. He’s been a soldier during these tough times, and seeing that he has stayed so positive has motivated me to stay positive during tough times. It has been difficult on us, but we have been getting through this together. The biggest thank you to my family who has been there for me through all this and I know that I have to keep Climbing Higher for them.”

As she continues to find a positive outlook within the hardest of circumstances, Gabby’s best advice to newcomers at the Mount is to surround yourself with people who want to better themselves, and you, to inspire and awaken new opportunities.

“Surround yourself with people who seek success because in the long run, you’re going be thankful you surrounded yourself with good people. Times can get challenging while in college, but as long as you have a good support system, then you will succeed!”

For her future, she plans to work in a Computer Science field where she can also incorporate her design skills. She feels the advisors and professors at the Mount encourage students to get involved in experiences that will prepare them for real-world jobs. 

“Coming into the Mount, I was unsure of what I wanted my future to look like. Now that I have been able to see and live certain experiences, I am more than sure of what I want my future to look like.”

Interesting in Double-Majoring in Social Computing and a Major of Your Choosing?

Our cITe Scholars Program may be a strong fit for you.

Students in cITe double major in their content area of interest combined with a major in Social Computing. This interdisciplinary curriculum works to connect students’ interests to technology innovation. Students are also eligible to to apply to the cITe Scholarship up to $8,000 per year: the Choose Ohio First cITe Scholarship.

To learn about Abby’s program, visit our cITe Scholars page for program highlights.