At 25, Gabriela Batista-Vargas is currently a first-year law student at Georgia State University who hopes that her J.D. will allow her to resolve socioeconomic injustice along ethnic divides. She was born in Puerto Rico, lived in Orlando as a child, and spent her adolescence in Georgia. Upon moving to Georgia, she found that her school and community were less diverse than in Orlando and this lack of diversity highlighted the stark social differences across races.
A graduate of Flowery Branch High School, Batista-Vargas went on to attend The University of North Georgia for her Associate’s Degree and Georgia State for her Bachelor’s. Gabriela understands that sacrifices must be made in the pursuit of academic excellence and laments that she sometimes misses out on family-time to study or attend networking events. Nevertheless, she credits much of her success to her family’s unconditional support.
Gabriela and her family at a little league soccer game
She is especially thankful for her mother who was always there to lend advice, a listening ear, words of encouragement, or a shoulder to cry on. She is also inspired by her fiancé, a first-generation college graduate, who went on help others struggling with their mental health. His humor and outgoing nature keep her spirits high even through tough times. Gabriela’s sisters also provide her with a valuable lifelong support system. Despite being completely different people, Gabriela looks up to her sisters for their hard work and fun-loving attitudes.
Gabriela has received many noteworthy awards, among them the Multicultural Student Affairs Office’s Student of the Year, President’s Honor Roll, Dean’s List, Lucille Ausborn New Member of the Year, Greek Woman of the Year, and the Lambda Theta Alpha National Political Activist Student of the Year. Gabriela is also active in her school community and served as the Student Government Association Senator. In addition to all of these accolades, she is an avid debater and has been recognized as a Semi-Finalist in the UNG/Oglethorpe Debate Tournament and the LSU Mardi Gras Debate Tournament.
Gabriela and her fiance
To Gabriela, the greatest honor is attending law school which is a milestone for her and her family. Less than 2% of attorneys are Latina and Gabriela hopes that in sharing her story, she will encourage more young Latinas to pursue a career in the legal field. Her advice to younger students is to “put education before anything and never quit.” Of course, Gabriela understands that prioritizing academics above all isn’t always easy, especially after working at her university’s admissions office and witnessing firsthand the difficulties faced by different marginalized communities, including DACA recipients, in pursuit of their educational goals. Gabriela hopes to use her career in law to address these inequities and amplify the Latinx voices.
Gabriela posing with attendees at ¨Mujeres Day at the Capitol”, an event that she and other women spearheaded to bring more Latinas to the Georgia capitol.
Gabriela posing with her law school classmates during a volunteer trip to South Georgia.