I chose Stritch partly because of its focus on social justice. In my first year I was able to attend a conference where I got to speak with students at Cristo Rey High School, which is a predominately Hispanic school. I loved that as a first year med student I already had the opportunity to give back to my community by talking to high school students about my future career in medicine and telling them it’s something that they should consider. I stayed in contact with those students throughout med school and I just gave another talk to them this year. Being able to bring my perspective on medicine to kids who probably don’t have a lot of role models in medicine was something that I felt really grateful to do, even though I was just a first year.
Another first-year opportunity I never expected was a service trip to Bolivia. We were there for two weeks taking care of patients out in the jungle. I had limited medical knowledge, but I helped develop a sexual health curriculum for teenagers in a community where the teen pregnancy rates are really high. Being able to have such an impact on people’s lives so early in my medical career felt amazing.
I grew up in Cicero, about 15 minutes from Stritch. Now that I am graduating, I’m going to Kaiser Santa Clara in California and will be doing obstetrics and gynecology. I’ve lived in Chicago my whole life, so it’ll be a big change but a good change. Afterwards, I plan on coming back to Chicago to serve my community again. I want to take the knowledge I gain out in California and do more outreach programs for teenagers and women in the Latino community.
Being a first generation med school graduate, it’s important for me to come back and help the community where I grew up. I thrived at Stritch because of its community feeling, and I feel like it will definitely stay with me throughout my career.