Ixayana Gonzales is focused on helping others and that is clear from her work at The College of St. Scholastica — and beyond. Gonzales is a junior from St. Cloud studying social work and organizational behavior.

“I love helping people and giving back to my community,” Gonzales said. “I thought that the best way to do that is through social work.”

Gonzales is also a 2016-2018 Phillips Scholar. The Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota awards $16,500 over two years to each of six competitively selected students at Minnesota private colleges who are dedicated to community service. It includes support for students to develop and implement a summer service project that addresses unmet needs in Minnesota communities.

Conducted last summer, Gonzales’ project was focused on helping break the stigma of mental health in the Latino community. “When I went through a depression, I didn’t have any support from my community because there’s a huge stigma around mental health,” Gonzales said. “I’ve created a series of workshops to educate members of my cultural community, using a facts-based approach with scientific studies to prove my points.”

Additionally, Gonzales is working with Latino parents to help them navigate the college search process. She organizes college tour dates for Latino families whose first language isn’t English.

Gonzales skillfully manages all of her schoolwork, projects in the Latino community and extracurriculars at St. Scholastica. She works two part-time jobs and manages to stay involved on campus, while staying on track to graduate on time. Gonzales is the president of the LatinX student union, a member of the international club, a cheerleader and a member of student government.