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Gateway student says college’s small class sizes beneficial

Ivan Rodriguez Gonzalez

Ivan Rodriguez Gonzalez, Gateway’s Star Ambassador, says the college’s small class sizes and caring instructor have helped him succeed.

Gateway student Ivan Rodriguez Gonzalez says the college’s instructors are “amazing” and work hard to provide the most solid education to their students as possible. 

“The class sizes are small,” says Ivan. “Instructors get to know you individually. You’re not one of 100 students. Instructors get to know you and help you to succeed.”

Ivan, who’s earned his Surgical Technology degree, says the college has done much to help guide him through his education. Whether it’s offering advice on financial aid decisions, searching for classes or providing instruction that he will use in the career field, Ivan says Gateway is always there for the students.

“They are willing to help you out – you don’t feel lost,” says Ivan.

Ivan was named Gateway’s Star Ambassador, which means he is the student voice when he speaks to college administrators, area communities and at other statewide efforts. He also was involved in the college’s mentorship program, Head’s Up, and said he has grown because of it.

“Instructors get to know you and help you to succeed.”

- Ivan Rodriguez Gonzalez

“It was a big turning point for me,” he says.

Ivan would like to be a mentor to his younger siblings or those who may believe college is out of reach.

“My story is that I do come from a gang-affiliated family. I noticed all the people I grew up were in jail, dead or selling drugs. I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to be a role model.

“I fell in love with the medical field, and knew I needed to go to college. Someone told me once it’s better to use a knife to cure someone rather than harm them. That really took a toll on my thinking. I knew I wanted to do that, to cure, so that’s why I enrolled in the Surgical Technology program.”

Ivan began earning Gateway credits in high school and, after a short haitus, returned to the college to pick up where he left off.