Daniella Ochoa-Gomez ’17 Has Been Accepted to Harvard University

By Samantha League, Communications Coordinator

View or Download Press Release

San Diego, Calif.— (December 15, 2016) — The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) is thrilled to announce that senior Daniella Gomez-Ochoa has been accepted to her dream school: Harvard University.

Daniella will be a first-generation college student and is supported by a humble family that gives everything to support her educational dreams. “My parents have sacrificed a lot for me to be here,” Daniella said. “I was thinking about that when I applied to Harvard… thinking about my parents and the others who are as smart as I am, (but) just don’t have the same opportunities.”

Daniella’s grandmother falls into this category: she wanted to be a nurse, but was pulled from secondary school to work at a store so she could start saving money for her dowry. When Daniella was feeling anxious about writing her admissions essay, her grandmother gave her the push she needed, saying, “I want you to have the same opportunities as a man, and you should have them.”

Her education has been a true family effort. While Daniella’s parents live in Tijuana, Mexico, Daniella primarily lives with her grandparents in a one-bedroom apartment in Mira Mesa to make her school commute easier. She even stays with them on some weekends to attend student club activities, like Robotics competitions.

“She is courageous in her efforts to fight through adversity to be a successful student,” Counselor Teri Heard said. “Her love for her parents, her heritage, peers, and school motivate her to continue to reach for her dreams.”

Daniella plans to study neurobiology at Harvard. “Neurobiology is the perfect program for me,” she confidently states. “Harvard has a concentration that (allows you to study) how neurobiology affects behaviors. They’re finding ways to connect interdisciplinary lines. I got super excited just because of that extra concentration.”

Daniella is also interested in nonprofit management, which has been cultivated by her social justice courses at OLP and her time volunteering with the Center for Community Solutions. She fell in love with “the way nonprofits work” and how they often rely on interdisciplinary methods to solve problems. She hopes that her education will help her find solutions to both medical and social problems.

“Seeing that ‘congratulations!’ and knowing that I’m going to receive the best education – I am out of my mind,” Daniella says.