Gabriela Mercedes Chavez-Unshelm
Born on December 25, 1991, I was the first in my family to be born here in Monterey. There are now three generations of my family living here on the Peninsula since the birth of my nephews in 2008 and 2010.
My father, Dr. Francisco Chavez, was born and raised in Peru and came to the US to study oceanography (Humboldt State University) and marine botany (Duke University). He is a principal investigator at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
My mother, Aurora Unshelm, came to US to study Food Science (North Carolina State University) and later made a career in the interpretation industry. She is a manager at Language Line Solutions.
After being named valedictorian of Pacific Grove High School in 2010, I was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to New York University and admitted Presidential Honors Program and the International Relations department–an honors major which only accepts 20 students each year. During my time in the PHP, my university sent me to study in Florence (Italy), Accra (Ghana), Berlin (Germany), and Buenos Aires (Argentina).
In addition to my career as a technician and instructor aboard oceanographic research vessels, and my training in political science and macro-economics, I have also worked in the local hospitality industry as the manager of a family-owned business and as a translator and language tutor.