Nohemi Gonzalez plaque

Photo courtesy of CSULB.

A plaque was unveiled today at Cal State Long Beach in memory of industrial design student Nohemi Gonzalez who was the only American killed in the 2015 Paris attacks.

The 23-year-old El Monte woman was studying abroad at the Strate College of Design in Paris at the time of her death. She was killed November 13, 2015 while eating with her friends at a Parisian bistro. 

The plaque is based on a design she created while studying abroad and features one of Gonzalez’s favorite quotes: “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

Andrew Calder, who studied at Strate with Gonzalez at the time of her death and a CSULB alumni, fabricated the plaque which was placed in the design department lower division shop where Gonzalez spent many hours.

“She was […] a relentless and dedicated presence in this shop both for her own work and as a dedicated student assistant helping others,” said Design Department Chair Martin Herman during the unveiling. “She had a great love of the materials of design, the making part of it, where you wrestle your ideas into tangible form as you bring them into life, which is what this shop is all about. And she was really in her element here.”

The plaque was funded through the Nohemi Gonzalez Shop Initiative, a campaign that began in March 2016 to raise money to refurbish, remodel and rename the design shop. 


The lower division design shop. Photo by Michael Garcia.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and Gonzalez’s parents also attended the ceremony.

Her mother, Beatriz Gonzalez, said it was an honor to see her daughter’s memory live on in a place considered her second home.

“I’m very happy,” Beatriz said. “Now I feel my heart full for all the effort she put in the shop.”

Michael Garcia contributed to this story.

Avatar photo

Stephanie Rivera

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.