Gabriela Prat

Gabriela Prat

Human Development and Family Science

Prat credits HDFS program for helping make her a better person




Human Development and Family Science - Double Dawg with Non-Profit Management and Leadership Skills, Disability Studies Certificate 


Activities: Resident assistant (2022-2023), Destination Dawg Mentor (2023), Lydia's Place Volunteer Committee (2022), Love.craft Athens volunteer (2022-present), Destination Dawgs volunteer (2023), Homestead Hospice volunteer (2022-present), Extra Special People volunteer (2022), Project Safe volunteer (2022), By Your Leave Fundraiser volunteer (2022), Disability Studies Certificate, Double Dawg with graduate courses in nonprofit management and leadership skills.

Honors: UGA NRHH Resident Assistant of the Month (September 2022), Arch Ready Professionalism (2022), Presidential Scholar (2020-present), Dean’s List (2020-present). 

Why I chose my major

I originally intended to be a psychology major, but as I took Human Development and family sciences course, I really appreciated how this interdisciplinary study addressed other influences outside of biology and families that impact development and outcome patterns. I also valued that this major centers social awareness and connects us through our shared humanity, allowing students to better understand through theory and research how systems and institution in our society provide unequal opportunities and socialize us to normalize these inequities, which further impacts optimal development for individuals, families, and overall communities. I think that this major exposed me to challenges that people experience because of the social identities that they hold, opening my eyes to how I can personally contribute to changes in my community that will promote wellbeing and development for all people, not just people that I relate to because of my own experiences. Truthfully, I stuck with this major because it has made me a better person by allowing me to evaluate where I come from, which influences how I think about people and situations. Overall, this major also has allowed me to understand that people do things for a reason, even if I do not initially see why. Before my studies, I would have reacted to these misunderstandings with judgement, but now I understand that I must take the time to try to understand and use it as a learning opportunity because we never fully know what other people are going through and what they have been through.  

What I like most about FACS

What I like most about FACS is that I feel like I am treated as a person first, not just a student. My professors have all been considerate of the fact that we have a lot more going on in our lives besides school, which then can impact academic performance. For example, many of my professors provide drop assignments or opportunities for extended due dates, not because they want us to not complete assignments or procrastinate, but because they realize that sometimes life is hard, and that people just need some grace; one of the most valuable lessons that this department has taught me is that I have to extend grace to myself so that I can give it to others.  

Professors have also reinforced these ideas by being vulnerable and sharing their own struggles, as well as opening up opportunities to speak with classmates about their challenging experiences. Being a student in FACS has allowed me to realize that it's OK to reach out for help if it is needed because the HDFS department has created a classroom environment that has normalized experiences of hardships in life. This department has done a fantastic job of teaching me that at the end of the day, I can’t optimally use my abilities to help others until I take time to help myself.  

Post-graduation plans

After graduation, I plan to stay at the University of Georgia for another year to finish my master’s degree in Nonprofit Management and Leadership Skills. During this year, I intend to continue deepening my involvement with local nonprofit organizations, while researching international job opportunities. Depending on the opportunities that arise and align with what I need for my own growth during this time, I plan to get involved in program evaluation or volunteer management for nonprofit organization that specifically provide support for older individuals with disabilities. After gaining some experience in this field, I want to invest in my personal growth and skill development by living a couple of years in a Spanish speaking country so that I can become fully bilingual. This skill will allow me to support more individuals and families that primarily speak Spanish, broadening my opportunities to support minoritized groups that have decreased access to resources in the United States. All in all, after graduation I plan to continue learning every day by encountering new opportunities that meet the changing needs of myself and the people I seek to support; my goal is to always keep an open mind to learning opportunities. 

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