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hen international student Paulina
Llorente Gonzalez first came to
Middlesex she had no idea what to
expect, but it didn't take long for her to find a
home away from home.
Originally from a small town outside of
Cancun, Mexico, Llorente Gonzalez discovered
a passion for helping others early. While
she was in high school, she volunteered at
a local horse therapy farm for people with
disabilities, working mostly with people with
Down syndrome. She also wrote a research
paper about the positive impact horse therapy
has on children with Down syndrome.
"I had an idea that I wanted to study special
education," she said. "But after graduation,
I just didn't know what I wanted to do, so I
took a year off to explore my options."
In 2012, Llorente Gonzalez came to the U.S.
to work as an au pair. After completing
her contract, she wanted to continue her
education, so she stayed living with a host
family in Concord.
"I have always loved school," she said. "I saw
that Middlesex was close to where we lived,
so I decided to apply to see where it would
take me." In the fall of 2014, she enrolled in
MCC's Early Childhood Education Program.
During her first week on campus, Llorente
Gonzalez immediately connected with
students in the Inclusive Concurrent
Enrollment Program (ICE) a dual enrollment
opportunity for high school students with
severe intellectual disabilities.
As she was waiting to jump on a trampoline
at a campus-wide event, she noticed a
student with a disability waiting too, so she
invited him to join her. An educational coach
saw this interaction, told Llorente Gonzalez
about the ICE Program, and asked if she'd like
to get involved. She immediately responded,
"Yes! Where do I go?"
Llorente Gonzalez now works as a Peer
Mentor for ICE.
Peer Mentors in the ICE Program take on
similar roles as other peer mentors on
A Passion for Education
& Helping Others
Llorente Gonzalez
Paulina Llorente Gonzalez, an international student from Mexico, is studying Early Childhood Education.
Student Profile