Giovanna (Gia) Gutierrez is a community outreach specialist and leader at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She earned her BA in 2013 and returned to Parkside in 2017 as a Bilingual Admissions Counselor for the department of Admissions, before soon becoming assistant to the Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Professional Sciences.  

Since then Gia has become a transformational force for diversity and student representation on her campus. She has been instrumental in the creation of a number of programs oriented towards Hispanic and Spanish speaking students. She has transformed the admissions process, developing intentional and unique visit programs making the admissions process more welcoming for Spanish speaking students.

She also led in the creation of “Universidad para Padres” which provides bilingual college readiness programming in the community. 

Gia has also brought life to Parkside’s Hispanic population through her role as a leader in the development of Hispanic Heritage month at UW Parkside. With Gia’s help, Hispanic Heritage month has become a beacon of cultural enrichment. In a similar effort, Gia has also established a day of culture and institutionalized the Day of the Dead as a continuing cultural program at Parkside. Although Hispanic Heritage month only happens once a year, Gia works continuously to benefit Hispanic students through her work on the Dreamers Support Team at Parkside, where she works with staff and faculty to provide support to student DACA recipients. 

Gia’s impact as community leader extends beyond Parkside; when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, which has no local radio stations that broadcast in Spanish, Gia stepped forward again to produce “Parkside Presente,” a weekly Spanish podcast which provided news to Spanish speaking community members. Gia helped contribute to cultural history in the whole of Wisconsin, too, working with a Community Based Learning class at Parkside to help document the stories of Hispanic community members for the Wisconsin Latinx History Collective. Gia has done additional work at the state level and beyond, presenting on education and support for Latinx students at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the UW Madison Division of Extension Educators.

Throughout all of her time at Parkside, Gia has been a unifying force, serving her community and providing cultural representation and enrichment to its Hispanic membership. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. In 2021, Gia was a recipient of both the Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award, awarded by the UW System, and the UW-Parkside Academic Staff Award. Most recently she was recognized as a recipient of the 2024 Distinguished Alumni Award, an award that celebrates and honors the rich legacy of learning and accomplishments by those graduates who have excelled in their chosen field or performed exemplary service to their community. Today, Gia serves as an Outreach Program Manager for the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies.