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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

Himala Gonzales, a senior from Hazard, Kentucky, loves to be involved in anything that brings a smile to others. She came to Alice Lloyd College to pursue her dream job of becoming a dentist and continuing her love of theatre. Acting and dentistry have always been a part of Himala’s life. She states, “At a young age, I found a passion for dentistry. As a child, I pretended to be a dentist when I played with my friends.” While many may not see the connection between science and art, Himala embraces them by majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and speech communication and theatre arts.

The most important thing Himala believes she can do in life is to bring happiness to everyone she meets. As a dentist, she hopes to help her patients feel like the most confident version of themselves through their smiles. She says, “I’ve watched patients receive new teeth and completely light up with tears of joy because it reflected their confidence.” Her experience in the ALC biology and chemistry department has prepared her for her field through challenging classes while also assuring her she chose the right career path by participating in several clubs and organizations.

Himala serves as the Vice-President of the Pre-Dental Society, which was formed in the fall of 2021. The Pre-Dental Society aims to help students get a more comprehensive grasp of dentistry by job shadowing local dentists, discussing the process of applying to dental school, and keeping up with pre-requisites. With the Pre-Dental Society, Himala presented good oral hygiene tips to elementary students at The June Buchanan School. Himala is also a member of the Allied Health Club, which provides students with various experiences related to a career in the medical field. Allied Health Club members also participate in several community service projects throughout the semester.  

Besides her experience in academia at ALC, she has also flourished in theatre. Himala has been drawn to the stage since she was nine years old, performing in her elementary school musical. She states, “From then on, I loved participating in anything to do with performing arts.” She has been in several plays at ALC and starred as Kathryn Schaub in ALC’s spring production Radium Girls. She says, “What I love about theatre is that you get to escape your reality and become someone else.” Himala is also an Alpha Phi Omega National Theatre Honors Society member.  

Himala never strays far from the theatre, and for her dedication, she was awarded the Campbell Arts Center (CAC) Work Ethic Award. The CAC Work Ethic Award is awarded to a student who shows the utmost commitment to the auditorium. Himala’s dedication to setting up the auditorium for convocations and ensuring the auditorium was cleaned before and after each event led her to receive the award. Himala has also received the annual Theatre Award.

At ALC, full-time students must work a minimum of 10 hours a week in their designated work-study placement. Himala completes 20 hours a week as a Teacher’s Assistant for the Division of Art Humanities and Social Science. As a part of her work-study, Himala assists Dr. Charles Mullins with office work and other daily tasks. Dr. Mullins has seen Himala as a student, worker, and performer. He says, “Himala is dedicated to her academic pursuits with a deep appreciation of both the arts and sciences. Her talents will be greatly missed at ALC Theatre, but I foresee Himala successfully achieving her academic and professional goals.”  With her course load, extracurricular activities, and additional work-study hours, Himala stays busy, but she has learned valuable time management skills necessary in her professional career.

While Himala has several career goals, she also has a heart for giving back and knows the importance of serving her community. She states, “Community Service is something I am very passionate about.” As a Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) member, Himala helps pack 30 to 60 food bags a week on campus. The food bags are then distributed to local elementary schools and given to students with limited access to food at home. Additionally, Himala is a Sunday school teacher at The Hilltop Full Gospel Church in Jackson, Kentucky. She has also been a Drive Coordinator for several events at the Haven House and the Perry and Floyd County Animal Shelters.  

Himala Gonzales came to Alice Lloyd College not only in hopes of pursuing her professional career but also to let her creative side flourish. Himala is thankful for ALC’s Liberal Arts education, where she had the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology while participating in the arts. Mrs. Lloyd and Ms. June knew the importance of a well-rounded education as a critical foundation of the College’s curriculum to encourage students, like Himala, to become a light unto the mountains.