Shooting for the Stars
Photographer finds support at Highline College.
You’ll likely see Juanita Gonzalez, Canon 80D in hand, around the Highline College campus taking photos of events, nature, anything that catches this photographer’s eye, really. Or maybe she’s in your art and design class or helping out in Building 6, Student Services, where she works as a part-time student worker.
Regardless of where or how, Gonzalez’s time as a student is coming to an end, as she will be done with her associate degree at the end of the fall 2018 quarter.
“Highline College has affected my future in many ways,” Gonzalez said. “Not only in furthering my education, but it has allowed me to come across some fantastic individuals who gave me some new exciting opportunities and opened doors that I wouldn’t have had if I didn’t attend Highline College.”
Individuals such as photography teacher Michael Sladek.
Gonzalez said Sladek was extremely influential during her time at Highline. Not only did he help hone her photography skills, but he also instilled in her she should never give up on her passion and should keep working on her goals. He told her that opportunities will come if she continues to work hard at her craft.
Following Sladek’s advice, she’s found some of those opportunities right here at Highline College.
This past October, Gonzalez took photos of students during the LGBTQIA Resource Fair and has contributed her work in similar capacities around the college.
Prior to attending Highline College, she said she knew it was going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.
“But if there was one thing I wish I knew before coming to college, it’s that you are not alone with your struggles, that you are going to make mistakes,” Gonzalez said. “… just know that there are programs and individuals out there to assist you in any of your struggles and are there to help.”
After visiting other colleges throughout Washington state and researching what they had to offer, Gonzalez said Highline College seemed like the perfect fit. Gonzalez is originally from California but has lived in Washington for 16 years. She currently resides in Renton.
“Not only is the campus beautiful with nature infused throughout, I attend Highline College because of the staff members that help me along the way,” she said. “They’re willing to listen to my goals and help me achieve them.”
She said she was surprised that she wasn’t treated as “just another student in a classroom” but was instead part of a larger community of people who want to see success in the personal accomplishments of others.
Although Gonzalez plans to seek a full-time job either working for the City of Seattle or continue working in higher education after graduating, she also hopes to find a job that she can combine her love of photography with the act of helping others.
Learn more about photography, art and design options at Highline College.