"...My parents raised me to be proud of who we are and to know who we are, to know our ancestry, to know our history, and to know where we came from, so that we could know where we are going..."
Rochelle Gutierrez, born in 1966 in San Jose, California, grew up surrounded by a big happy family. During her childhood, she lived in a mainly-white middle class neighborhood, and her Chicana identity was not always accepted by the people around her. Later, in high school, she excelled in many activities (such as academics, track, and dance), which landed her a place at Stanford University. She went on to receive a PhD from the University of Chicago. There, she experienced a multitude of microaggressions, such as a professor who pitted the Latinx students against each other, racist campus policies in relation to the surrounding Chicago neighborhood, and distrust and racial bias from the campus community. Gutierrez came to the University of Illinois 1996. There, Gutierrez is a supporter of the Latinx campus community, a firm advocate of affirmative action, and a part of SACNAS, (the Society for the Advancement for Chicanas and Native Americans in Science).