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ULV student remembered for her positivity and diverse outlook on life

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Liliana Castañeda
Copy Editor

Briana Gomez, a broadcast journalism major at the University of La Verne, died Aug. 1 in a fatal rollover crash. She was 31.

Around 7 a.m. in the Golden Hill area of San Diego, her vehicle rolled over in an attempt to avoid a collision on State Route 94. 

“She wanted to be a journalist. She wanted to be on the air. She wanted to be a reporter,” said Valerie Cummings, associate professor of broadcast journalism and Briana’s academic adviser.

Ms. Gomez was working on her second bachelor’s degree from the University of La Verne in broadcast journalism. She had previously received a bachelor’s degree in international business from Azusa Pacific University in 2012 and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne in 2016.

“I just thought that she was a really special and unique person because of her world view. Because she had traveled so much, she brought a different perspective and dynamic to the class,” Cummings said. “I think that some students learned more as a result of this.”

Ms. Gomez had shared on her LinkedIn profile that she was passionate about traveling abroad to experience new cultures and hoped to inspire others to do the same. Her interest in diverse cultures encouraged her to be a part of the Japanese Club, Arabic Club and International Club at Grossmont College, where she completed her transfer studies program. Ms. Gomez was also a leading member of the Latin American Student Association at APU.

She had recently traveled to Budapest, Hungary, her brother, Jesse Gomez said, to teach English as part of an internship. Jesse said Briana really enjoyed taking those trips with her dad, Paul Gomez.

“Briana taught me to be more healthy, be a better person, be a better man,” Jesse Gomez said. “She was a very outspoken and a strong democratic individual. She was independent; and she was just an all around amazing sister.”

She contributed to her community in San Diego through the articles she wrote about multicultural issues happening for the East County Magazine, where she last worked. She covered protests, council meetings and forums mostly involving discussions about disparities amongst different cultural groups.

“She was obviously a good person, caring, all of that, she was very vocal in class and always wanted to do everything correctly,” said Ken Pucci, La Verne PEG TV access manager and University of La Verne adjunct professor.

“I think the whole class was kinda happy she was there sometimes because if the class was quiet, you know, I’d ask questions, she would always be the first to speak up.” Pucci said.

Rashonda Taylor, a broadcast journalism senior, remembered that she would often discuss course topics with Ms. Gomez.

“She was really sweet honestly, and she was so funny and totally in love with her kid. She’d go on about her, kind of like how moms do,” Taylor said.

Ms. Gomez is survived by her 2-year-old daughter, her mother Rochelle Moussa, father Paul Gomez and brother Jesse Gomez.

Liliana Castañeda can be reached at liliana.castaneda@laverne.edu

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