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Student Spotlight: Meet Gissele Mosqueda

“Youth Entrepreneurs is not just about learning how to run a business. It’s about changing you as a person.” YE Alum Gissele Mosqueda is a senior at North High School in Wichita, Kan. Through YE, Gissele broke out of her shell, and she’s taking her entrepreneurial skills beyond the classroom. Meet Gissele Mosqueda.  

As a YE student: “I didn’t want to enroll at first,” Gissele remembers. But after her teacher, YE veteran Matt Silverthorne, encouraged her several times, she finally signed up for YE. “He promised me that when I left the YE class, I would be someone entirely different — I wouldn’t be quiet anymore. I would be confident.” Through the hands-on classroom activities, Gissele’s eyes were opened to entrepreneurial thinking that she could take beyond the classroom. “It was nice to walk into a class where I belonged, where I could learn skills and know that I can do anything I set my mind to.” 

Her mindset-shift moment: When it came time to create a business idea for the Big Idea competition, Mr. Silverthorne pointed Gissele to one of her passions — crafting. “The Little Things” was born. “I decided to create a feel-good business where someone could buy a product to treat themselves every once in a while,” she says. “When people started asking about my bracelets, I had the a-ha moment that I could make the business right now! I had the skills and knowledge to do it. It could be a success now, and I could even continue it into college and even after college.” 

Her Big Idea experience: Gissele initially shared her “The Little Things” business idea in the in-classroom Big Idea competition. “Competing in the classroom was my chance to get out of my shell,” she says. “I wanted to test myself to see if I could do it. I wanted to be fearless.” Gissele won the in-classroom competition and went on to the area and regional Big Idea competitions, where she won prize money. 

“It was never about the money, for me. I was proud that all of my hard work paid off. I didn’t mind if I didn’t win. The most valuable thing for me was being able to present and network, and knowing I could do it. And I still take that experience with me to this day.” 

Learning Responsibility: “Before YE, I wasn’t a leader. But when I started my own business, I learned that I had to take responsibility for my mistakes. I took on the role of a leader. I couldn’t depend on teachers or other people, I had to depend on myself. It was really scary at first, but now it is really exciting to know that I’m equipped and I can do it.”  

Her future goals: Gissele plans to attend Wichita State University after graduation and major in mechanical engineering and minor in business. “Right after I took YE, I fell in love with business and thought I might need to change my major,” she says. “But YE taught me that business principles can be paired with any passion that I have.” Long term, Gissele hopes to either create a business from her mechanical engineering experience, or attend medical school and launch her own practice.

Her YE passion: “YE is more than a class that teaches you business basics. It’s a program that changes lives. I love YE, and I look forward to mentoring and volunteering when I am in college. I want kids to know they can do anything if they follow their passion — no matter their background.” 

“YE was my safe haven, and I’m so grateful for YE and Mr. Silverthorne for pushing me toward my potential. I used to think there was nothing I could do to influence others. Now, I’ve learned not to listen to the negativity. Mr. Silverthorne was right — I did walk out of the classroom more confident and now I’m fearless.”

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