Gabriella Mesa ('19)

Undergraduate Student
Stanford University

Gabriella is a student at Stanford University studying product design, with a minor in Spanish. In addition to her studies, she is the Inclusion, Community and Integrative Learning Student Coordinator in Stanford’s Office of Student Affairs, where she focuses on equity, inclusion, belonging and student learning outside of the classroom.

Get to Know Gabriella

What talent would you most like to have? 
To be able to sing

What living person do you most admire? 
Jemele Hill

Who is your favorite fictional character?
Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place)

Who’s your favorite musical group? 
Silk Sonic

What is your most treasured possession?
My signed Travis Kelce jersey

What is your favorite pastime? 

What interested you in this particular field of study?
I’ve always pictured myself in a STEAM field, but hadn’t considered product design (PD) until I got to college. What I like about PD is it combines creativity with technical skills from areas like computer science and mechanics. I’ve joked with my roommates that being this close to Silicon Valley wouldn’t get to me, but it has. And it only took one computer science class! I also value the interdisciplinary aspect of PD, which allows me to explore the intersection of my interests—health, sports and writing—through the lens of human-centered design.

What's the greatest challenge you've overcome as a student in product design?
As a woman, and as a Black woman in particular, I’ve learned the importance of owning space in classes, clubs and meetings. St. Teresa's Academy gave me the confidence to do that.

Tell us about your greatest success.
To date, my greatest success is a project I’m working on with another STA alumna. This year, we entered the Stanford Digital Design Challenge as a team. The challenge was to develop a product that solves a problem exacerbated by COVID-19. We researched, pitched, and developed a digital platform prototype to connect peers who recently were selected to receive funding. I’m especially proud of this project because it started out as a random idea over Facetime and we’ve watched it turn into something much more tangible.

What advice do you have for young women who are interested in product design?
My advice for young women in any field is to own your work and your skills, and never be afraid to advocate for yourself. It’s also important to trust your own journey and believe you’re on the right path. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, especially in an environment like STA or Stanford, where you’re surrounded by intelligent individuals who are bound to do big things. Believe in yourself!

What quality do you most admire in a woman leader?