First name: 

Shakespeare described Gema Ortiz perfectly, when he wrote in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “and though she be but little, she is fierce.” Gema is the 6th born out of 8 in a Hispanic family - this spring she will be the first in her family to graduate from university and is now applying to graduate schools for fall 2018. Gema ran track and cross-country competitively from age 11 to 18, but her real love is soccer, which she has been playing for almost 18 years. Gema began coaching at her high school alma mater and her local Parks & Recreation department while still in high school, not as a way to earn a paycheck, but rather as a way to turn and pull the next generation of girls after her. She is devoted to making sure that others like her, have opportunity, encouragement and skills for success. To that end, Gema is currently coaching at the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) giving back to the same extra-curricular program that transformed her as a young girl.  Gema’s Michael Johnson Young Leader’s Project will tackle the racial divide within sports, as well as open up opportunity to have more girls of color participating in sports by focusing on programming that blends sports psychology, coaching, community-building and adolescent development in the underserved communities of south Santa Clara County.

United States
Class of: 
Sport for inclusion