Gaby came to the United States as an 18-year-old Venezuelan exchange student. She attended Garrett High School, thinking she’d be here for one year, but there, she met her future husband, Nick. After high school, she had three options: go home to Venezuela, go to Spain to attend a university, or stay in Indiana and pursue a scholarship to attend (then) IPFW. She chose the third option, staying in Fort Wayne to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. During her studies, she discovered a passion for computer engineering, and pursued a second degree. She earned her electrical engineer degree in 2014, and her computer engineering degree in 2015. On the day of graduation in 2014 (which was also Gaby’s birthday), then boyfriend Nick asked her to marry him. She accepted, and now, after spending 10 years in Fort Wayne, it’s home.
Gaby’s father is an electrical engineer, so she grew up with a familiarity of the career. Her dad recognized her aptitude for math, and as a child, he would have her review math and physics problems with him just to prove to her that she was very good in those subjects (in college, she enjoyed math and physics enough to minor in both subjects). Her father would tell her she’d make a great engineer one day. He was right – Gaby joined Design Collaborative in 2015 as an electrical engineer.
Traveling is Gaby’s biggest passion. Her family lives in Spain now, and she has a sister in England. She welcomes the opportunity to visit with them and see their countries. She’s been very lucky in her travels – she’s visited 20 countries so far, and has been to 17 states in the U.S. She hopes to one day visit all 50. Her passion for traveling stems from a desire to immerse herself in other cultures. Her favorite destination has been Ireland. She hopes to return one day. She hopes to one day visit Bora Bora for the beautiful beaches, and Iceland for the incredible scenery and to see the Northern Lights. She also hopes to spend time in Venezuela again.
In Venezuelan culture, families are very close. And not just immediate families – your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. No one is excluded. Gaby is very close with her grandmother, who she says is the light of her eyes. Her sister is her best friend, and her brother gave the family Gaby’s first niece. She tries to call her parents, grandmother, and siblings as often as time (and time zone differences) allows.
Gaby communicates with her BIG family every day through group texting. When they all get together in person, she’s unsure if anyone would understand what is going on. It might seem like they’re fighting if you don’t understand their Spanish, but she promises they are just a very loud family. They greet each other in person with a kiss on the cheek, and say goodbye the same way. She wishes she could spend more time with them because their family time is a lot of fun!
At home, Gaby spends time with her husband Nick, their 17-pound cat Ricky, and their 5 pound dog Benny. The two pets are best friends, and play together constantly. Soon, they will all be joined by one more – a baby boy! Gaby says she underestimated the experience of being pregnant and how much work it is to grow a human. She’s hungry all the time, but is extremely excited to meet her son.
Her proudest accomplishment so far has been earning two bachelor’s degrees in her secondary language. And on May 3 this year, Gaby became a citizen of the United States, a process that she started back in 2014. After living here for 10 years, she is happy to be a citizen.
For Gaby, the word home is defined by several things – Nick, Venezuela, Indiana, Spain, and Design Collaborative. We are fortunate to have her as part of the DC team!