Informatics student sets an example of resilience

By Jessi Loerch Thursday, February 28, 2019

Godgiven Reamico wants to make a difference in the world.

Her story is one of overcoming challenges to build the life she wants. And now, as an Informatics student, she is looking to a future where she can use technology to improve the lives of other people.

While she’s working toward a career, she also wants to help people on a personal level. She hopes that by being open about her own personal struggles, she can inspire others — including fellow iSchool students.  

“I’m not the only one out there with a powerful story,” she said. “I want to help people like me. I want to show them that there is a way out.”

Godgiven had a rough childhood. She lived with her mother, who was physically and verbally abusive. When Godgiven turned 19, she spoke with a counselor who said “you can leave.”

It was hard, but she did leave, taking a train across the country to stay with her father and stepmother in California. She worked and went to community college, trying to fulfill the requirements she needed to transfer to a university. But it was hard to do that quickly while also holding down a job. When Godgiven wasn’t ready to move within a year, her stepmother forced her out. Godgiven lived in her car for a time before she found housing.

In California, Godgiven studied computer science. She knew from the beginning it wasn’t the right path for her, but didn’t know what was. She wanted to combine her love for technology with her desire to help others. She spoke to a professor she admired and he told her about informatics. It caught her attention.

She looked up informatics and found the iSchool. The more she read, the more excited she was. She watched a video of an alumni student panel and listened as a woman explained how she loved technology and building things, and how she found a supportive environment at the iSchool. It was just what Godgiven wanted.

“Technology is the future, but how we are using this power of creating and building new technologies makes a huge difference."

Godgiven continued working while she applied to the UW and the iSchool. When she learned she had been accepted, she was so excited that she could barely speak when she called her boyfriend to tell him the news.

Moving to Seattle felt like a fresh start. Godgiven’s mother had broken her self-confidence, but getting accepted to such a respected program helped. It validated her skills and helped combat some of her fears and insecurities. Her mother had called her worthless, but getting into the iSchool proved to Godgiven that she could accomplish things on her own.

Godgiven is now in her second quarter studying Informatics at the iSchool. She is also the recipient of the Larsen Family Endowed Scholarship in Informatics, which supports community college transfer students who are the first generation in their family to attend college.

She appreciates that, at the iSchool, she’s learning about technology as well as gaining a solid understanding of how that technology relates to real people.

“Technology is the future, but how we are using this power of creating and building new technologies makes a huge difference,” she said. “I chose the Informatics program because I know that they value humanities and ethics within technology, and that they want all of their students to come out with a good head on their shoulders as they go out in the world of tech.”

Godgiven plans to graduate in 2020. Ultimately, she would like to be a solutions architect, a career that would allow her to take advantage of her fondness for collaboratively solving problems.

Cynthia del Rosario, diversity programs advisor for the iSchool, says she already sees Godgiven’s leadership skills, particularly among fellow transfer students. And del Rosario admires her ability to look to the future.

“She sees the long view. She has a vision for herself,” del Rosario said. “I’m very impressed with her strength and she’s so kind. … She’s very thoughtful and she knows how support other people and she knows how to advocate for herself and others.”