Lost and Hopeless: Israel Carranza’s Story

How Professors Helped a Student Turn His Life Around

Just a few years ago, Israel Carranza would have described himself as “lost” and “hopeless.”

In struggling with addiction and the repercussions of bad decisions, including going to jail multiple times, he was destroying the two things he cared most about: his family and community. He knew he needed to make drastic changes, so he started out slowly, first getting a job, then paying his bills and fines, then enrolling part time at Weber State.

That was just the change he needed.

Israel turned his life around, graduating with a degree in political science in 2017. Today, he is in his first semester at Gonzaga University School of Law.

“My professors gave me confidence in myself; they challenged me,” Israel said. “There are so many great people at Weber State, it’s difficult to name them all. There’s (criminal justice assistant professor) Mark Denniston, who taught me to think like a lawyer and whose lessons have proven to be invaluable during my first few weeks at Gonzaga. There’s Aaron Garza (WSU’s assistant director of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity), who took the time to help me navigate through my law school application. I’m thankful to them both, to all of my professors, to my family and to God for helping me overcome the challenges in my life and get me started on the path to become a defense attorney.”