Although she had moved around the world, Gretchen Rodriguez dreamt of coming to the United States. As a professional in the tech industry, she wanted to be at the epicenter of technological advancement.
Ms. Rodriguez spent the first seventeen years of her life in Morón, a city in central Cuba. Her childhood was filled with moments of biking, kickball, friendships, and family. Gretchen’s family moved to Venezuela where she completed her education. She earned a scholarship to a prestigious university in Spain—her grandparent’s country of origin—and lived there for nearly five years.
In a moment of spontaneity, Ms. Rodriguez decided to leave Spain and travel to the U.S. She initially applied for a student visa but was denied. In 2013, she ultimately entered the U.S. via a political asylum status which was allowed due to her Cuban citizenship. The first months in the U.S. had more than its share of struggles—from learning a new language to negotiating a lease for her apartment. Despite her experience abroad, negotiating the job market was also a challenge.
Gretchen has worked for start-up tech companies in the Bay Area and is developing her own mobile app. She earned her project manager certification and attends Stanford University through their continuing education department. Currently, Ms. Rodriguez lives in San Francisco with her husband.