Texas Tech University

Visual and Performing Arts Student Leads Through Dance

Amanda Castro-Crist

May 15, 2020

Isabella Gonzales received one of the university’s 2020 Student Academic Leadership Awards.

In February, Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Parents Association announced the 2020 Student Academic Leadership Award recipients to honor outstanding students who excel both in and out of the classroom. We are highlighting Texas Tech University students who were recognized.

After attending a Texas Tech University commencement ceremony as a small child, Isabella Gonzales knew she wanted to be a Red Raider. She also knew she wanted to teach. It wasn't until high school when she discovered her love for dance.

Gonzales is now a third-year dance major and English minor at Texas Tech. During her time in the School of Theatre & Dance, part of the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts, she has been an active member of the campus and local communities, serving in leadership positions within multiple organizations, coordinating and choreographing performance events and volunteering within the community.

After graduation this spring, she plans to return to Texas Tech in the summer to complete her master's degree. She hopes to teach high school and eventually lead as a principal, all while continuing to conduct scholarly research related to dance.

Her achievements in and out of the classroom helped her receive one of this year's Student Academic Leadership Awards.

Isabella Gonzales

How are you a leader in the classroom?

I show that I am a leader in the classroom through my actions and quality of work. I try to stay engaged with every lesson, and I am attentive and respectful of my professors. I work hard in class, and I stay on top of my work.

How are you a leader outside the classroom?

I hold leadership positions in two different organizations. In Healing in the Arts, I am the dance officer. I am in charge of the dancers for the show and make sure they get their dances finished. In the Texas Tech chapter of Chi Tau Epsilon, the dance service organization, I am the community service chair. I organize community-service events and plan the benefit concert.

Why did you select your major?

After attending a Texas Tech graduation ceremony at the age of 5, I knew I wanted to be a Red Raider. A lot of my family, including one of my parents, graduated from Texas Tech and went on to become lawyers and teachers. I have always known I wanted to become a teacher, then eventually a principal. The only question was, what was I going to teach?

During my freshman year of high school, I started dancing and knew that was where my heart was. I decided to pursue dance and English and hope to teach one of the two in a high school one day.

How do you intend to use your education in the future?

I am currently an undergraduate student at Texas Tech and will graduate this May. After I graduate, I will return to Texas Tech in June to start the new Master of Arts in Dance Studies program. When I complete my second degree, my hope is to find a teaching job at a high school for either dance or English. I also want to conduct research in dance in order to bring awareness to issues within the dance world. The end goal is to become an administrator of a high school.

How has Texas Tech helped you along the path to those goals?

Texas Tech has provided me with the education I need in order to fulfill my dreams and reach my goals. With each course I taken, I learn not only course material, but self-discipline, time-management and decision-making skills. Texas Tech has exposed me to extracurricular activities, that have allowed me to grow, make connections and learn about things outside of my scope of knowledge.

Who has had the biggest impact on you, and why?

The person who has influenced me the most has been my mom. She overcame numerous obstacles growing up but decided to make the best out of a bad situation. She went to nursing school and has worked to give me the best life she could. She has taught me to be resilient, pushed me to take chances and supports me in everything I do. She is my voice of reason, saving grace and confidante.