Kish College names Perla Gonzales winner of Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship

Perla Gonzales was named the winner of Kishwaukee College’s 2024 Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship. Gonzales was recognized at the April meeting of the Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees and is pictured with Bob Johnson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Laurie Borowicz, President of Kishwaukee College.

Kishwaukee College named Perla Gonzales as the winner of the 2024 Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship. Gonzales was selected after submitting an essay where contestants outlined a plan for a nonviolent response to the problems of hate and discrimination and drew upon the lives and writings of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Gonzales, of Kirkland, received a scholarship for the Spring 2024 semester and was recognized with a certificate of achievement at the April Board of Trustees meeting. Her entry was forwarded to the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) for consideration in the statewide Gandhi/King Peace Scholarship competition.

In her essay, Gonzales focuses on providing education for the community and examining the issues of hate and discrimination through personal connections.

“The first step is acknowledging the scope of the problem. I propose initiating workshops and seminars that explore the historical context of discrimination, its present-day manifestations, and its impact on individuals and communities. We will bring light to the issue at hand. Incorporating the teachings of Gandhi and King will emphasize the connection between humanity and highlight the shared responsibility we bear in confronting discrimination,” Gonzales wrote in her essay.

Gonzales said she viewed the essay prompt as an opportunity to showcase the lessons and peaceful strategies she has learned to use against discrimination from personal experiences.

“My hope for readers of my essay is to understand that diversity does not equal inferiority. My essay was written to encourage individuals to embrace a mindset of learning and understanding regarding various religions, cultures and spiritual beliefs they may not be familiar with. By learning to appreciate everyone's differences, I aim to inspire people to peacefully support one another rather than remaining passive bystanders in the face of discrimination and hate,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales plans to graduate from Kish’s Registered Nursing program in May with an Associate in Applied Science degree. Following her time at Kish, she plans to join the workforce at a regional hospital while continuing her education in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a Nurse Practitioner License.

Kishwaukee College is committed to a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, focused on respect and fairness, in all aspects of the College experience.

To read Gonzales’s full essay, visit