Women’s History Month Spotlight: Isela Gonzales-Cook

March 30th, 2023

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the College of Humanities is spotlighting a few of our most dedicated and long-serving faculty and staff members who operate behind the scenes in various roles and are part of the essential fabric behind the work we do. This week, meet Isela Gonzales-Cook, who’s been in her current role as a Program Coordinator, Senior for the Department of Spanish & Portuguese since 2006.


Can you briefly describe your role in your own words?


I am a Program Coordinator, Senior for the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. I started working in the department as an undergraduate student in 1994 and started my role as Graduate Coordinator in May 2006. My primary role is working with all students that enter our Graduate Programs. I coordinate the Graduate Academic Services for our Graduate Programs and provide the guidance that students need throughout their careers as graduate students. Our graduate students come from all over the world, and my goal is to orient them and teach them as much as possible upon arrival to the U.S. I also assist the department in business affairs. 


Are there any women who have been particularly influential in your life or career?


Yes, there are many women in my life, including my mother, sisters, and aunts, as I have witnessed what they have become despite the challenges they have endured. My mother has always been my inspiration; her work ethic is contagious. Since she did not have a formal education, she instilled in us the desire and a love for education and hard work. Her commitment to volunteering and educating the community through the City of Nogales and the Mexican Consulate has greatly influenced my life. I see myself following her steps.


What’s your favorite part about working for the College of Humanities? 


My favorite part of working with the College is the ability to work with so many people from diverse backgrounds, languages, and cultures. The community we build in this college enables us to share experiences that lead us to a strong and healthy work environment. In my years of service, I’ve worked with many faculty and staff can call true friends. 


Is there anything you would like to share about your interests or life story that others may not know? 


I am the youngest of five children and was born in Nogales, Arizona. As such, I learned many life lessons through my siblings. Those life lessons have been essential throughout my life. I’m close to my parents and family and spend many weekends with them in Nogales. My interests are many, from volunteering on and off campus, quilting, and healthy cooking to wellness and exercise. I love traveling with my husband and family around the U.S. and abroad. I’m also a University of Arizona alumna, class of 2000.