Annette Gandara

Apr 30, 2021

Panhandle State Communications

OPSU Students Tell Their Story – Diversity & Inclusion 

Annette Gandara was drawn to Panhandle State for its affordability and the small campus environment, like the small town she grew up in. Originally from Canadian, Texas, Annette plans to graduate in May of 2022 with a double major in English and History with a minor in Biology.

Annette is passionate about helping others. She is currently the Vice President of HALO (Hispanic American Leadership Organization) and a cheer team member. “Both organizations give me that platform to support others in different ways.” She continued, “Being able to help others in any way possible is something that I grew up doing and have fell in love with.”

Panhandle State is the first and only Hispanic Serving Institution in Oklahoma. Annette said, “Enrolling at a University where the Hispanic community is a majority brought a feeling of hope and acceptance. As the first and only Hispanic Serving Institution in Oklahoma, it seems as though more students, myself included, feel more misunderstood than ever. The Hispanic community is founded on hard work and conservative views, and our education is our safe place. It’s where we, as young Hispanics, can pave our paths. I am a Mexican-American woman pushing through ethnic and cultural adversity.”

College students are faced with many challenges. Annette touched on a few of the areas that have been challenging for her. “I have faced a lot of challenges throughout my college career, but some that impacted me more include learning the importance of discipline and keeping my priorities straight.” She continued, “There are a lot of distractions in college, so it can be hard to focus on what needs to be done, but thankfully, I found that solid support system that helped me find my way back.”

Annette stated, “Many don’t understand the constant battle that minority students face daily. Every day, we have to prove our worth, our intelligence, and ourselves. My success isn’t just mine, it’s my family’s, and it’s a success for the Hispanic community as well.”

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