While the terms military brat, environmental sustainability and educator may not intuitively seem to go together, they all compose an integral part of Alyssa Gonzales’ identity. Growing up with two parents in the military made her childhood interesting, and she credits this background, and the trials that came with it, as being the foundation for her outlook on life and openness to new experiences.
“I wasn’t stagnant growing up, and, while it sucked in the moment, it taught me to be adaptable,” she said.
Alyssa said her adaptability helped her through her college career. From being an active member of Texas Bluebonnets, to an officer and peer educator in the Mental Health center, to an advocate for environmentally sustainable practices shown through her work with the Zero Waste Initiative, Alyssa has a variety of commitments that require her to be flexible.
One of the main ways Alyssa uses adaptability as she looks forward to joining the Teach for America Corps is her work as a teaching assistant for a 5th grade environmental science class at Austin Achieve. Here, she combines her knowledge and passion from her work with the Zero Waste Initiative and transfers his positive energy to her students.
“It’s really solidified this choice for me because I’m teaching them environmental science and they don’t have that grasp and context,” Alyssa said. “For a long time, science was for the elite and now there’s a push. I think that right now we’re trying to solve our problems without giving kids adequate education, and that’s our biggest problem.”
But Alyssa’s dedication to the importance of a good education extends beyond science because she feels that it is fundamental to all other issues we face as a nation.
“I’ve dedicated a lot of my career to fighting for others, and I really think advocating for education about things as basic as healthy relationships early on would alleviate negative behaviors that we have to unlearn later,” she said. “The same goes for recycling and composting and eating right. Education is the beginning of all that is good and bad in the world, and I’d prefer to be on the right side of this fight.”