What first got you interested in your field of choice?
The Boys and Girls Club (BGC) was a home away from home for myself and many other kids in town who did not have anywhere else to go after school while their parents worked. The BGC was a beacon of hope that provided families like mine with child care, meals, recreational activities, and so much more. What was initially a safe haven for me later became where I found purpose through community outreach. At BGC, one of my first leadership positions was through a community outreach program, Keystone. This program allowed me to give back to my community. As the secretary, I organized school supplies drives, college visitation trips, Christmas gift drives, Health Fairs, and other local events. This program was designed to reach out to the marginalized and at-risk youth who desperately needed more than what they had. The most impactful event I organized was a Hunger Awareness Conference that educated the BGC members on the importance of a healthy diet and the hunger crisis in our Coachella Valley. It was my experience at the BGC that ignited a passion for providing my community with basic necessities. I am committed to providing primary health care to communities like mine through a career in medicine.
What type of obstacles have you had to overcome on the road to getting your education?
At nine years old, I had my first job at the LA Times Newspaper as a deliverer. I learned to contribute at a young age to the household as I worked any available job. I was designated to earn money for my brother and myself until he was old enough to work alongside me for school supplies, clothes, shoes, and other basic necessities. It was challenging to manage a consistent nighttime work schedule and wake up only hours later to go to school. As I transitioned into UCLA, I had to maintain a similar work ethic to support myself and ensure that I had a safety net if something was to occur with my family's immigration status. I was hesitant to continue my undergraduate school because I had to maintain a job to provide me with financial security. However, In my first year at UCLA, I worked almost full time for ten weeks and still managed a quarter full of classes. This experience helped me understand that I can do both because working a job was always necessary to contribute back home.
How did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
The education I am seeking is to prepare and guide me towards my goals of combating healthcare disparities in underserved communities. This program shares my passion for community engagement beyond the physical ailments of a patient and improves their day to day lives. A perspective and background I have obtained from life experiences help me advocate with underrepresented groups. A degree at Keck Graduate Institute gives me an opportunity to put into practice how to build many communities, like the ones I grew up in, from the ground up with resources they need to sustain themselves.
Why did you want to become an Admissions Ambassador?
I have a generalized theme in all things that I participate in and that is community. An admissions ambassador is the welcoming face of the campus community and the reason I felt so at home during my numerous visits during the summer. I want to spread the word of an institution who gave me a chance to work on myself academically and rebuild my academic confidence. I am sure there are many students who can relate to the strenuous course load that comes with applying to medical school. I am here to say that there is a place who strives for excellence not only academically but to facilitate the growth of amazing people.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I grew up in a small town that had one high school, two middle schools, and 5 elementary schools. It was a town where you got to know EVERYONE.