Duran discovers passion for history and culture at GGC
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) senior Brenda Duran’s motto is “keep moving forward,” and she’s doing just that with speed and agility despite living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Diagnosed during her freshman year, Duran struggles with many of the symptoms of MS including blurred vision, balance and muscle control. But she’s not letting her disease keep her from pursuing her passions and driving toward her goals.
“I’ve always been a person who wants to improve my life for the better,” Duran said. “My parents are from Mexico, and I feel lucky to have been born in the United States and want to maximize the opportunities I have here.”
Duran, a history major, initially chose Georgia Gwinnett for its convenience and value. Once on campus, she was thrilled with the small class sizes and engaged professors who have been understanding about her medical condition and mentored her over the years.
“My former mentor and professor, Dr. Lia Schraeder, helped me realize how much I loved history and convinced me to keep it as my major when I was thinking of changing it,” she said. “I’m so grateful she guided me through that decision.”
The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS), one of the first student organizations founded at GGC, has played a large role in helping shape Duran’s college experience.
“OLAS helped me get closer to my roots by introducing me to other Latino students and teaching me about other cultures in Latin America,” she said. “Although it’s the same continent and language, there are many dialects and varied traditions.”
In addition to her OLAS involvement, Duran enjoys being a part of the Student Fashion Association and volunteers as a campus Spanish/English translator.
After graduation Duran plans to serve in a writing internship and would ultimately like to have a career in journalism with Univision or Telemundo.
“As a Latin American, I am attached to my heritage and love my roots so much,” Duran said. “I can proudly say I’m a Latina with a disability and am grateful to have been given the opportunity to explore and grow at GGC.”
Duran, of Lawrenceville, is one of more than 460 GGC students who will graduate at GGC’s fall commencement ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Infinite Energy Center, 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.