In Memory of Gabriela Sánchez

In Memory of Gabriela Sánchez

Dr. Marc Martin established the Gabriela Sánchez Memorial Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of his former student, Gabriela “Gabby” Sánchez, and to support students like her in the pursuit of their college degree at San Francisco State University.

Dr. Martin received a BFA in Fine Art from the University of San Francisco, an MA in Conflict Management from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in Humanistic Psychology from Saybrook University. Dr. Martin retired from San Francisco State University in 2013 after a nearly 35 year career as a counselor in the Office of Student Financial Aid and as a lecturer in the Communication Studies Department. In retirement, he continues to teach and mentor students part-time at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco.

Gabriela Sánchez whose memory is honored with the Gabriela Sánchez Memorial Scholarship was one of Dr. Martin’s exemplary students at San Francisco State University. She was dedicated to her studies, actively involved with the SF State community, and eager to accomplish her many goals.

Ms. Sánchez was born in Tepalcatepec, Michoacan, Mexico on September 9, 1993, and died in a tragic car accident on July 18, 2017, at age 23, while driving to her job at 4:00 a.m. in order to support her college studies. She was a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which eased some of the many barriers in the pursuit of her goals of obtaining a college degree and becoming a role model for her family and her fellow undocumented students, who struggle like she did.

Ms. Sánchez used to commute two to three hours every day from her home in Dos Palos, about 140 miles away from San Francisco, to attend San Francisco State University and De Anza College. Her mother would routinely drive her from Dos Palos to Gilroy, where she would continue her commute on Caltrain to San Francisco or Santa Clara. Classmates, who became close to her, saw her struggle and opened their homes to her on school days so she could focus without having to worry about commuting.

Ms. Sánchez was a year away from earning her bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and electronic communication arts at San Francisco State University when she died. On campus, she was involved with Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success (I.D.E.A.S), an organization that advocates for undocumented students. She was a member of the Comic Book Club and was planning to publish her first comic book in fall 2017. She also enjoyed sharing her poetry at school functions. She was planning to film and submit one of her poems to the Sundance Film Festival where she had been offered a volunteer opportunity.

Ms. Sánchez was looking forward to exploring careers in the entertainment industry, and had aspirations of becoming a political figure in the future. Her academic achievements and activism were recognized by San Francisco State University when she was conferred her bachelor’s degree posthumously in spring 2018.

Gabriela Sánchez’ death was a big loss to her family, friends, the San Francisco State community, and all those who were fortunate to know her. She is survived by her mother, three sisters, one brother, and her father. She is remembered by hundreds of friends from all over the world.