Alum Profile: Gabriela Pedroza (’09)

Profile by Alicia Belch


Gabriela Pedroza, Paralegal
Sweet and Paciorek, LLC (Immigration Law)

Why Marywood?

Gabriela chose Marywood because of the close-knit atmosphere. The small class sizes made it possible for her to really interact with her classmates and create strong relationships with the professors. Gaby states, “The professors weren’t just my teachers, but became more like family to me. They cared about students not just in the classroom, but outside, too.”

 Skills Acquired at Marywood

Gaby’s experience at Marywood has helped her gain important social and public speaking skills. She states, “The public speaking skills I have developed at Marywood help me not only during information sessions that I give at my job, but also for the numerous immigration activism roles I take on.” Gaby works directly with clients everyday preparing applications for family-based benefits and defense, affidavits, and arguments. Within the English Department at Marywood, Gaby was able to explore many different subjects that, although challenging, shaped her into a well-rounded person. “The Marywood English Department helped me develop personally by giving me an environment where I felt comfortable. I got the opportunity to explore many topics within the department that I never would have done on my own.”

 Greatest Accomplishments

 Since graduating Marywood, Gaby has accomplished her goals in both her professional and personal life. She states, “In my career my greatest accomplishment has been to help my clients get one step closer to obtaining their ‘American Dream,’ which many times is to stay in the United States with their families. On a personal level, besides being the single mother of a beautiful six and a half year old girl, my greatest accomplishment has been to become involved in the Immigrant Rights movement and teaching my daughter why it is so important for us to stand up for those who are too afraid to speak up. I have participated in several protests in order to advocate for immigrants and have given my testimony at several conferences.”

Interests, Hobbies, & Work Life

Gabriela’s biggest interest is in the Immigrant Rights movement. She participates as much as she can while caring for her daughter. She explains what she does in her spare time: “I like to read and dance but spend most of the time as a taxi driver for my daughter, who is a Girl Scout,  dances,  acts, and takes swimming lessons.” Gaby explains that she’s always wanted to be a part of the professional community she’s involved with currently. Before working as a paralegal, Gaby was a Director of Social Services for a Catholic Church where she was able to help those in need.

Gaby’s Advice

 Gaby’s advice for future English majors is to venture out and take advantage of everything Marywood has to offer. She states, “My advice to future English majors would be to really get to know the professors. They will become more than just your professors—they will become your friends, even family. Take advantage of all the resources that are available to you, and take a great variety of classes. You will be surprised and end up liking things that you may never have thought possible!”


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