In 2003 Dr. Myrka Gonzalez Esq. and her husband, David Ochoa created and endowed scholarships for Latino students at Dowling College and at Hofstra University School of Law. Over 25 students have benefitted from those scholarships. Myrka Gonzalez, who is Cuban, migrated to the United States of America with her family in 1962 with a change of clothes and a rag doll that didn’t last 3 months. David Ochoa was born in California of a migrant Mexican father and 1st generation Mexican American mother. While Myrka Gonzalez’s parents were both college educated Myrka was the first in her family to attend college in the United States and the first to attend, not one but two, graduate schools where she obtained first her Doctorate in Jurisprudence from Hofstra University School of Law and then her Doctorate in Education from Dowling College. In 2010 she received an honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from Dowling College. David Ochoa was the first in his family to attend college. He attended Whitter College and then obtained a Doctorate in Jurisprudence from UCLA.
Dr. Myrka A. Gonzalez Esq. has practiced law for 30 years. She has, in addition, been an educator for the last 15. She has taught at Imperial Valley College in California and Suffolk County Community College in NY. Currently she is a freelance writer. She has lectured at Bordeaux France before the World Association for Case Method research & Case Method Application (WACRA); in Hilton Head, South Carolina for the annual conference of the Eastern Education Research Association (EERA), and at the 30th Annual Conference of School Administrators Association of New York State. LI Educational Review, Newsday, Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, Latin Trends, Noticia and Latin Long Island Magazine have published Dr. Gonzalez. She has received numerous awards in Nassau and Suffolk County including in 2003 when she received the Juliet Low Award from the Nassau County Girl Scouts.
Presently she is on the Executive Board of Trustees for Dowling College and is Chair of the Academic Committee. Previously she was a board member of the Suffolk County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre, the Long Island Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Long Island Arts Council and Nassau County Executive Hispanic American Advisory Board among others.
David Ochoa is currentlythe Managing Director of Development Initiative for Vaughn College. He is an entrepreneur, business leader, and educator. His diverse background includes senior executive leadership responsibilities in telecommunications, broadcast television, film and television production and higher education. Mr. Ochoa is co-founder and former CEO of Buena Vision Cable Company of Los Angeles, California, which was the nation’s second largest minority owned Telecommunications Company. The winner of two Emmy Awards, he previously served as Executive Producer for Programming at WNBC-TV, New York. He was also co-founder and Senior Executive of Bilingual Children’s Television.
David is a recognized leader in higher education, with nearly two decades of service at Dowling College, Alaska Pacific University and Imperial Valley College in California. He has taught at the Catholic University School of Law in Lima, Peru and Chicago State University.
Mr. Ochoa was a Commissioner to the New York State Asset Maximization Commission. He has also served on various corporate and community boards, including the Board of Directors at Doral Bank, New York, the Board of Trustees of Suffolk County Community College. In 2008 he was elected as an Obama delegate to the National Democratic Convention. On two separate occasions, Hispanic Business Magazine included David Ochoa in their list of 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America. Mr. Ochoa was a regular panelist on PBS Station WLIW’s current affairs program 21 Forum.
David has received many honors in addition to his Emmy’s including being the 2004 recipient of the prestigious David Award from the publication Networking. He and his wife Myrkawere honored as The Philanthropistof the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
1. The greatest impact of David’s childhood was his caring parents.
2. David’s experience growing up involved overcoming barriers and finding that every challenge was an opportunity.
3. The challenge David had to overcome a poor education.
4. His greatest influence in his career was others willing to help.
5. He hopes that he will continue to share and give more of himself.
1. The greatest impact on my childhood has to be immigrating, leaving my entire world as I knew it behind. Everything that was familiar—except my parents—was gone: the warm climate, home, family, toys, clothes, familiar language all gone. This has topped all other experiences and actions in my life. It has also freed me to recognize that things are only that and that changes. Relocating and leaving everything behind for an opportunity.
2. My experience growing up was filled with loving and hardworking parents who instilled a love and the importance of family, culture, the appreciation of an education, and thankfulness for everything the United States made possible. This included having Spanish lessons every day before I could go out and play during the summer. I attended NYC public schools where I got an excellent education and which allowed me to take field trips to some of the greatest museums in the world, learn French from real Parisians and meet people from all over the world. I also saw bigotry, gang violence and poverty but that too was a learning experience.
3. The challenges I’ve had to overcome were language, culture, and ignorance.
4. My greatest positive influence in my life has been my family, colleagues, and friends who have recognized and encouraged my abilities. They have read my writings and have given honest criticism, suggestions, and support.
5. I hope that being recognized as a Latino Trendsetter will inspire me to finish and publish the stories I have started to write, to reach out to my new community in Naples Florida, and to keep faith with the motto “I can do anything if I want to badly enough.”