10th Anniversary Dreams Campaign 10 Question Series - Rocio Ortega
One of the ways we are celebrating our 10th Anniversary Dreams Campaign is through a 10 Question Series. The Dreams Campaign was created on the belief that girls who dream, become women with vision and through this campaign we hope to connect the SEGA girls with people and organizations around the world through their shared dreams. Our goal is to show each girl at SEGA the endless possibilities that come from investing in girls' education.
We are excited for you to read our 10 Question Series with Rocío Ortega, an associate for Girl Up, an initiative to provide girls all over the world with the leadership training and tools to become gender equality activists. Rocío Ortega is the co-manager of the Teen Advisor Program and helps to manage the social media for club members.
What did you aspire for at an early age?
I aspired to get every girl in the world to see a classroom. I’m really passionate about getting girls an education because I’m a first-generation college student and as cliché as it sounds, an education really is the key to success – however a girl chooses to define success.
What inspired those dreams?
I received a lot of inspiration from family and friends who were going through the same thing – first in their family to go to college, to grow up in the US, to learn English, etc. I knew I had to fight for all girls’ right to an education because that is the key to independence, agency and self-empowerment.
What is the most difficult decision you’ve had to make to pursue your dream?
The most difficult decision has been to leave my hometown of East LA in pursuit of new experiences and learning opportunities. It means leaving home and your comfort zone but I’m glad I push myself to set on new experiences – from moving across the country for college and now for work – I know it’s all worth it in the end and I have family and friends at home supporting me. I’ve also learned to stay true to yourself and always be proud of where you come from.
What’s one thing you would tell your younger self?
I would tell myself that no matter how scary the journey seems like in pursuit of your dreams, there’s always a support system there for you cheering you on. A support system can be family, friends, co-workers… anybody!
Who is someone you look up to / admire?
I look up to the Girl Up Teen Advisors (past and present) because they have decided to fight for gender equality in their hometowns, countries and the world. They are a group of high school teenagers who take on a large leadership role and use their voice to lead a youth movement for gender equality.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Do not be bummed out by mistakes because they are real life lessons. You should learn from your mistakes and do everything possible to not repeat them. It’s through mistakes that you grow as a person.
Who was your best teacher/helper on your journey?
The best teacher was my Army JROTC Instructor in high school because he saw all the potential in me that I didn’t know I had. I was motivated to excel in all areas, not just academically. Teachers who go above the call of duty and get to know a student outside the classroom can really make a difference in a student’s life.
How did your environment/friends shape/support your dreams?
A lot of my friends didn’t go to college because it was expensive or they didn’t have US citizenship. I grew up in an immigrant community so I knew the privilege I had in receiving financial aid for undergraduate college. It motivated me to take advantage of every opportunity I had so that I can be an advocate for those around me and lift members of my community up.
Was there ever a time you felt uncertain about your dream?
Being a first-gen kid can be daunting because no one is there to hold you by the hand. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and ask for help. Once you learn that, you’ll see there’s a lot of people who want to help you achieve your dreams.
What is a piece of advice you have for the SEGA girls?
It’s encouraging to see girls talking highly about themselves and other girls. Often times, society wants us to talk bad about ourselves and not believe in our potential. I’m here to say that it’s awesome to see girls “brag” about themselves and how inspiring their friends are. I want to see more girls be supporting of one another and work together to achieve gender equality.
Rocío Ortega is an associate for Girl Up, an initiative to provide girls all over the world with the leadership training and tools to become gender equality activists. Rocío Ortega is the co-manager of the Teen Advisor Program and helps to manage the social media for club members.