Grace Corona

Grace Corona

President's Scholar

Major: Political Science
College of Social Sciences

Why did you choose your major?

I chose political science as my major because I have always enjoyed being intellectually
challenged through reading and writing. I wanted to understand the underlying
mechanisms of how government works because I want to pursue a career in law.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Receiving this award means more to me than words can describe because I have been
working towards this achievement since I started college. To me, this shows that my late
night reading, writing essays, and studying without sleep have contributed to my bigger
picture of success. Moreover, it reinforces to me as a first generation student that all of
my parent’s hard work is also paying off and that my obstacles have served as
motivation.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

Both my mom and dad have been the greatest influences I have had throughout my life.
They embody fearlessness through every action they take and every plan they commit to.
I have always worked towards being as fearless as they have been since they left Mexico
to come to the United States, basically starting all over again with little to no resources.
Thinking of their resilience and strength has always given me the power to have my own
strength because through them and their accomplishments, I know it is possible to make
your dreams come true. Through my time at SJSU I have met a lot of amazing faculty,
but in particular Professor Kenneth Peter has been an amazing mentor. He has pushed me
to try things I am afraid of and makes me aware of my strengths, and overall has helped
me become the best student I could be.

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

Growing up as an undocumented student and individual stemmed a lot of obstacles in
terms of being able to attend a four year university because of the little resources that
existed for DACA students when I applied to school. Yet, being a DACA recipient and
being an undocumented person has served as my motivation to try harder and always do
better. Therefore, since this experience I have had since arriving in this country, it has
shaped my ambition, drive, and work ethic.

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I would tell other students that every single thing that you can dream or put into words is
possible, especially the harder and more difficult it sounds. What is important about
achieving a goal like being on the President’s List is putting it out into the universe and
making sure every move you make is part of contributing to this larger goal you have.
Also, I would tell other students to always remember your “why”, meaning to always
have in the back of your head the main reason you are getting an education and why you
want your degree. Knowing your “why” will drive you strongly to achieve any of your
dreams and goals. All in all, knowing that dedication and sacrifice is something to look
forward to because you are one step closer to achieving your goals.

What makes you a Spartan?

What makes me a Spartan is my endless fight to want to find equity for all students. Ever
since I stepped foot on SJSU campus and started taking in everything it has to offer, I
began to understand all of the work that needs to be done for marginalized communities.
My passion that I have developed through the amazing people who attend this university
and ambiance the students create at SJSU, is unlike anywhere else I have been.
Therefore, what makes me a Spartan is my ambition to fight for others and always strive
to make my environment better than I left it.


Nominated by Melinda Jackson
Chair, Political Science

"I would like to nominate Patricia (Grace) Corona from Political Science. In addition to being a President's Scholar, Grace is an active member of our department and university community. She serves as an Orientation Leader (earning an A+ in the accompanying leadership course), and was recently accepted into the UCLA Law Fellows program, which supports outstanding potential law school students from underrepresented backgrounds. As a first-generation college student who has personally suffered discrimination, Grace has demonstrated the kind of courage and resilience combined with academic excellence that makes our students so remarkable."