Creating Change with a Pen: Meet Sabrina

Sabrina sits on a low cement wall outside of a government building

By Luke Ilgenfritz –  


The Minerva team is gearing up for summer, which means our new intern is on board! Meet Sabrina Gonzales, who is joining our virtual environment from Allendale, Michigan. Her background in English and passion for environmental sustainability mixes well with Minerva Strategies’ mission to create positive change through smart communication. Read more to learn more about Sabrina and her goals for the future! 


You grew up in Michigan, where are you now? 


I grew up about 20 minutes outside of Detroit, in Troy, Michigan, and then moved across the state for college. I attended Grand Valley State University in a small town outside of Grand Rapids called Allendale, Michigan, and have been here for the past four years! 


Sabrina at the Eastern Market in Detroit, MI a couple of summers ago!



What did you study in college? 


I studied English, Literature and Language and minored in environmental studies. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I got to college, but I had an interest in law and, specifically, environmental policy.  


I knew that for law you can choose any major, and it’s important to have strong reading and writing skills. I chose a major that emphasized reading and writing while allowing me to stay creative.  


I minored in environmental studies because I’ve always wanted to do something socially focused and loved the environment. It was awesome to learn a lot of things that interest me.  


Why did you choose to intern with Minerva? 


Well right off the bat I looked at the website and saw the mission, the blog, and the team, and I got this sense of, “OK, they do some really cool stuff and work with some really cool clients.” I also saw that Minerva is a small team, so I got the sense that everyone is very genuine. It feels like a family. 


What social causes are most near and dear to your heart and why? 


I really care for the environment. I think that came from when I was young because my whole life, I’ve loved nature and loved animals. My interest in nature stemmed from my childhood and has only grown from there.  


Another thing I’ve learned is how interconnected environmental issues are with other social issues like environmental racism and corporate policy. A big thing that stuck out to me was the Flint water crisis. Having grown up 40 minutes away from Flint, my community heard a lot about the issue as it was happening and tried to help by raising money and collecting water bottles to donate. At the time, however, we knew very little of the policies and corruption that had led to the crisis. In college, I learned a lot more about the systematic injustices that occurred here, and it was unbelievable to see, years later, what had really been happening during that time. A great book that talks more about this issue and was eye-opening for me is called What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha.  


What else do you do for fun? 


Well, I love music. In fact, a lot of my poetry is from writing songs, which I’ve always done. I enjoy playing instruments too! I’ve played the piano since I was seven, I can play ukulele, and I’m currently learning guitar! It’s been sad not having a piano in college, but I have a keyboard, which gets the job done. 


As I mentioned before, I love to be outside, so I really enjoy hiking and going to the beach. I live about 20 minutes from Grand Haven Beach on Lake Michigan, and it’s cold, but it’s still a beach! I also love yoga!


I like to cook. I’m vegetarian so I like vegetarian cooking, experimenting with recipes, and stuff like that. I actually eat mostly vegan when I am at home, but I don‘t always stick to that diet because there aren’t always a lot of vegan options offered when I’m at restaurants or other people’s homes. It’s nice to see more vegetarian and vegan options being offered at so many restaurants and by so many big brands now, though! Ben and Jerry’s non-dairy ice cream has been getting me through Michigan’s recent hot weather.  


A sunset on Lake Michigan in Grand Haven, MI, where Sabrina loves to hang out in the summer.


What do you hope changes tomorrow? 


Growth in terms of social good. I would love to see big corporations make changes for social and environmental good a bigger priority. It’s been too easy to push those conversations off for a long time. People are starting to get there, but I’d like to see it become a bigger priority for bigger companies. 


What do you hope never changes? 


I think our generation and younger generations have a real desire to make a difference in the world. I like that our generation has a passion for social change, and I hope that fire stays as we get older. I hope that we remain a fiery and resilient generation, and I hope the same, if not more so, for the generations to come. 


What do you like to learn about? 


I like to learn about so much! I don’t want to be too repetitive and keep talking about the environment, but I love sustainability. 


I love learning about how I can be more sustainable in day-to-day life. I’ve been really into how to make a house more sustainable, so I want to buy a house and just see how self-sustainable I can make it. It would be a tough project, but I’m up for it at some point. 


Over quarantine you wrote a book, what other writing have you done? 


Yeah, I wrote a memoir about my family and our lives. It is a very personal and independent way to express yourself. I never really write with the intent of publication, it’s just a beautiful art form.  


Do you ever want to be a published author? 


I am probably going to self-publish a poetry book. I don’t write with the intention of publication, but I think it could be cool. I have quite a bit of material saved up over the years. I started writing poetry going back to 3rd grade but have been off and on since then.  


What is your dream job? 


Funny enough, I don’t have a dream job. I would say I have dream ambitions. I’d like to continue working in social good for sure, something that allows me to continue to write and be creative, but ultimately, I have no dream job. I feel like I’ll end up where I’m supposed to, and I’m very open to whatever that may be! 


What rules do you live by? 


I always try to make every day a little different. It’s easy to fall into the same routine every day, but I get really bored when that is the case, so I like to try to plan a hike or go to a new restaurant. I need to continuously try new things to stay inspired! 


I believe it’s very important to have things to look forward to in life. It helps keep passion, creativity, and motivation – you can find excitement in the big plans and the little plans!  


Spending time in nature is one of Sabrina’s favorite things to do in her free time!

And that completes our interview with Minerva’s newest intern! Don’t hesitate to reach out and give a virtual hello to Sabrina at intern[at]minervastrategies[dot]com.

About The Author

Minerva Strategies

Minerva Strategies

The Minerva team has decades of experience working with nonprofits, foundations, and values-driven companies. Minerva also partners with experts—trusted designers, web developers, global communications professionals, and others—who share our excitement for creating positive social change. Through these partnerships, we can build a team that is tailored to your needs. Learn more about who we are or what we do.