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Camila Pierre

1635

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

Hi! My name is Camila Pierre and I am a senior at Manhattan Hunter Science High School intending on majoring in Human Biology/Human Science. Being Afro-Latina - a mix of Colombian (South American) and Liberian (West African) has shaped my life in many ways. My outward presentation as African American/Black (skin tone, hair texture, facial features, etc) has made it so that people assume that I don't speak Spanish and that my Hispanic heritage does not exist. These assumptions, although hurtful, have given me insight into African American/Black disparities in the US, especially in healthcare. As a victim of racial discrimination within healthcare, I have seen the disregard and lack of respect for minorities in this field - both as a patient and as a professional. This is a result of a lack of diversity in health education and exposure and a lack of cultural awareness. This has pushed me to strive to combat these issues by becoming a physician (only 5% of physicians in the US are Black) and treating my patients as holistically as possible - being able to take into account all factors in each patient's unique background to treat them as thoroughly and with as much dignity as possible. Unfortunately, there is a barrier to health education in the US. To qualify to apply to medical school, a bachelor's degree must be obtained. The average amount of student debt in the US is $30,000, which as a low-income and first-generation-in-medicine student, is the first hurdle I have to overcome to achieve my goals LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/camilapierre

Education

Manhattan Hunter College - High School of Science

High School
2019 - 2023

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Human Biology
    • Public Health
    • Medicine
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      Doctor

    • Site Manager

      MHSHS Key Club
      2020 – Present4 years
    • Head of Programs

      MHSHS Medical Club
      2021 – Present3 years
    • Scholar

      Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)
      2019 – Present5 years
    • Mentee

      MedDOCS @ Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine
      2021 – 20221 year
    • Intern

      CEYE Hospital Internship @ Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine
      2022 – 2022
    • Owner

      CrownedJewelersBK (Etsy Shop)
      2020 – Present4 years

    Research

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

      The Whitney Lab for Neuroscience | CUNY City College — Student Intern
      2021 – 2021
    • Public Health

      Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — Student Intern
      2022 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      MHSHS Peer Tutoring — Tutor
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Masbia of Flatbush — Served food, helped kitchen staff prepare meals
      2022 – Present
    • Advocacy

      Equality 4 Flatbush (E4F) — Produce flyers advertising rallies, fundraisers, and other events
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Henry Bynum, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
    “You are not to attend any protests. Look at what is happening on TV. You can’t afford to be arrested or hurt”, my mother ordered. These words echoed through my head. If I couldn't show up for my community, what use was I? I originally joined Equality 4 Flatbush (E4F) - a grassroots organization that fights for police accountability, affordable housing, and anti-gentrification/anti-displacement in minority neighborhoods in Brooklyn - to join rallies for affordable rent and against unlawful eviction defense; long-standing issues in my home neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn. Not allowing myself to be discouraged, I created social media graphics and flyers for E4F that members and I would hang up all over the neighborhood to advertise the very protests I wasn't allowed to attend, and for tenant association meetings for buildings managed by slumlords all around Brooklyn. One such tenant association meeting attracted 60 tenants, community leaders, and lawyers to discuss their course of action against a pair of landlords who abruptly and illegally evicted all eight tenants from their property in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, despite an eviction moratorium. Last February, it was announced that the tenants won a civil suit drafted during that meeting and would receive considerable compensation. (http://www.equalityforflatbush.org/press-releases-and-statements/press-release-brooklyn-1214-dean-street-tenants-win-civil-suit-against-landlords-gennaro-brooks-church-loretta-gendville/) Upon hearing this, I realized that my efforts from behind the scenes were just as important as the protesters, lawyers, and community leaders on the front lines that fought for justice for the victims of the unlawful eviction. Although I would’ve liked to, I did not have to be physically present to make a positive change. The loudest voice in a room isn't always the one who makes the most impact. This commitment to bettering my community has led me to double major in Biology and Urban Studies with a specialization in Public Health at Barnard College, allowing me to understand the genetic, environmental, and cultural factors that lead to health and other disparities for minorities in NYC. I will be able to combine my passions for social justice and health equity to better understand how an individual’s social determinants of health affect their well-being. Classes on genetics will teach me how crises (famine, untreated illness, hereditary diseases, etc.) and poor health of ancestors' centuries and decades ago still influence the generation of today’s well-being through epigenetics. Learning the history of medicine will teach me why there is miseducation/lack of education in the healthcare industry about how to properly treat and diagnose minorities and those with darker skin (eg. certain skin conditions are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed on dark skin because medical textbooks only show how they present on light skin). Urban Studies classes will teach me how having an unstable living environment (from eviction, etc.) affects someone's mental health. Not only will I be equipped to deal with these disparities and give ways to combat them, but a college education will ultimately help me become a physician in an underserved community such as Flatbush. I want to counter the statistic that only 5% of physicians identify as African-American and 5.8% as Hispanic. Even fewer identify as Afro-Latinx and are the first in their family to attend college. My degrees in Biology and Urban Studies/Public Health will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care. Being awarded the Henry Bynum, Jr. Memorial Scholarship would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education as a low-income first-generation college student: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    Fuerza y Ganas Scholarship
    From a very early age, I have been surrounded by my grandparent’s accouterments of illness - pulse oximeters, glucometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, spirometers, stethoscopes, canes, and walkers. My 7-year-old self was filled with wonder at the sight of such cool gadgets; pressing the buttons, listening to my heartbeat, and checking my oxygenation level. I didn’t fully understand what all these gadgets were for, but I sensed that they kept both my grandparents healthy. On many weekends, we would play “doctor and patient” to pass the time. I would pretend I was triaging them and taking care of their “wounds” and “fevers”. They would lay in bed pretending to be my patients, mummified with gauze that was wrapped around their heads and limbs. These games and my eventual awareness of the equipment's usage fueled my curiosity to learn more about human anatomy, disease processes, and interventions that attribute to a positive health outcome. I delved into historical stories like that of the Tuskegee Airmen and Henrietta Lacks - human tragedies that angered me and bolstered my desire to help those who had no voice in the medical arena. I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at our minority/immigrant neighborhood clinic in Flatbush, Brooklyn. My insatiable curiosity about disease states, drug usage, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. Since my Colombian grandmother is Spanish speaking, she preferred that I translate during every visit. Although her primary care physician spoke limited Spanish, she didn’t feel quite understood when she parlayed her litany of ailments. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? I had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Lazala, a pediatric endocrinologist whose practice is in a medically underprivileged section of the Bronx, NY. Her patients were primarily Spanish-speaking low-income immigrants from Latin America. The interaction between patient and physician stood out to me - there was a warmth to it that I had never experienced before although I had accompanied my grandmother to the doctor many times. They communicated in Spanish and the patients were able to ask questions until completely satisfied. She was empathetic and took her time with each patient and treated them holistically. This experience made me realize that I would like to practice as a physician in an urban underserved community where the need is greatest. She reinforced the notion that empathy was an important component of the holistic approach to patient care. All of these experiences have reinforced my commitment to service and advocacy, specifically in underserved communities. I see echoes of my grandparents in many of the patients who are in minority/immigrant communities and are unable to self-advocate due to knowledge deficit, language barrier, and limited income. Only 5.8% of physicians identify as Hispanic, even less as AfroLatinx - I want to counter this by becoming one to advocate on behalf of my patients. Pursuing degrees in Biology and Urban Studies/Public Health at Barnard College will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to be able to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care to all. It is my goal to limit disparities in Latinx communities, as Dr. Lazala does today. Being awarded the Fuerza y Ganas Scholarship would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    HM Family Scholarship
    From a very early age, I have been surrounded by my grandparent’s accouterments of illness - pulse oximeters, glucometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, spirometers, stethoscopes, canes, and walkers. My 7-year-old self was filled with wonder at the sight of such cool gadgets; pressing the buttons, listening to my heartbeat, and checking my oxygenation level. I didn’t fully understand what all these gadgets were for, but I sensed that they kept both my grandparents healthy. On many weekends, we would play “doctor and patient” to pass the time. I would pretend I was triaging them and taking care of their “wounds” and “fevers”. They would lay in bed pretending to be my patients, mummified with gauze that was wrapped around their heads and limbs. These games and my eventual awareness of the equipment's usage fueled my curiosity to learn more about human anatomy, disease processes, and interventions that attribute to a positive health outcome. I delved into historical stories like that of the Tuskegee Airmen and Henrietta Lacks - human tragedies that angered me and bolstered my desire to help those who had no voice in the medical arena. I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at the mostly minority neighborhood clinic. My insatiable curiosity about disease states, drug usage, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. Since my grandmother is primarily Spanish speaking, she preferred that I translate at every visit. Although her primary care physician spoke limited Spanish, my grandmother didn’t feel quite understood when she parlayed her litany of ailments. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? I had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Lazala, a pediatric endocrinologist whose practice is in a medically underprivileged section of the Bronx. Her patients were primarily Spanish-speaking low-income immigrants. The interaction between patient and physician stood out to me - there was a warmth to it that I had never experienced before although I had accompanied my grandmother to the doctor many times. They communicated in Spanish and the patients were able to ask questions until completely satisfied. She was empathetic and took her time with each patient and treated them holistically. This experience made me realize that I would like to practice as a physician in an urban underserved community where the need is greatest. She reinforced the notion that empathy was an important component of the holistic approach to patient care. All of these experiences have reinforced my commitment to service and advocacy, specifically in underserved communities. I see echoes of my grandparents in many of the patients who are in minority communities and are unable to self-advocate due to knowledge deficit, language barrier, and limited income. I will endeavor to work tirelessly as a physician to advocate on behalf of my patients. Only 5% of physicians identify as African-American and 5.8% as Hispanic - I want to counter this by becoming one and inspiring others like myself to join the ranks. Pursuing degrees in Biology and Urban Studies/Public Health will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to be as holistic as possible, being able to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care to all. Being awarded the HM Family Scholarship would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    Charity's Alumnus Erudition Award
    From a very early age, I have been surrounded by my grandparent’s accouterments of illness - pulse oximeters, glucometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, spirometers, stethoscopes, canes, and walkers. My 7-year-old self was filled with wonder at the sight of such cool gadgets; pressing the buttons, listening to my heartbeat, and checking my oxygenation level. I didn’t fully understand what all these gadgets were for, but I sensed that they kept both my grandparents healthy. On many weekends, we would play “doctor and patient” to pass the time. I would pretend I was triaging them and taking care of their “wounds” and “fevers”. They would lay in bed pretending to be my patients, mummified with gauze that was wrapped around their heads and limbs. These games and my eventual awareness of the equipment's usage fueled my curiosity to learn more about human anatomy, disease processes, and interventions that attribute to a positive health outcome. I delved into historical stories like that of the Tuskegee Airmen and Henrietta Lacks - human tragedies that angered me and bolstered my desire to help those who had no voice in the medical arena. I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at the mostly minority neighborhood clinic. My insatiable curiosity about disease states, drug usage, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. Since my grandmother is primarily Spanish speaking, she preferred that I translate at every visit. Although her primary care physician spoke limited Spanish, my grandmother didn’t feel quite understood when she parlayed her litany of ailments. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? I had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Lazala, a pediatric endocrinologist whose practice is in a medically underprivileged section of the Bronx. Her patients were primarily Spanish-speaking low-income immigrants. The interaction between patient and physician stood out to me - there was a warmth to it that I had never experienced before although I had accompanied my grandmother to the doctor many times. They communicated in Spanish and the patients were able to ask questions until completely satisfied. She was empathetic and took her time with each patient and treated them holistically. This experience made me realize that I would like to practice as a physician in an urban underserved community where the need is greatest. She reinforced the notion that empathy was an important component of the holistic approach to patient care. All of these experiences have reinforced my commitment to service and advocacy, specifically in underserved communities. I see echoes of my grandparents in many of the patients who are in minority communities and are unable to self-advocate due to knowledge deficit, language barrier, and limited income. I will endeavor to work tirelessly as a physician to advocate on behalf of my patients. Only 5% of physicians identify as African-American and 5.8% as Hispanic - I want to counter this by becoming one and inspiring others like myself to join the ranks. Pursuing degrees in Biology and Urban Studies/Public Health will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to be as holistic as possible, being able to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care to all. Being awarded the Charity's Alumnus Erudition Award would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    Deborah Thomas Scholarship Award
    Growing up, I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at the neighborhood clinic. Since my grandmother primarily speaks Spanish, she preferred that I translate at every appointment. These visits gave me an excuse to read my favorite book, “The Illustrated Atlas of the Human Body”, for the hundredth time. My insatiable curiosity about disease processes, drug prescriptions, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? During my internship at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine this summer, every clinic in which I shadowed a physician sported a Pocketalk Plus - a state-of-the-art screen on wheels that instantly connects the patient and physician to a bank of interpreters who spoke 100+ languages. A years-long question reemerged in my mind: Why is there such a disparity in access to healthcare in small community clinics based in minority neighborhoods in comparison to large hospital systems? Is it because of a lack of resources or funding by the government? Having a Pocketalk Plus would certainly be useful in neighborhoods where English is not the first language for many people. These experiences opened my eyes to the disparities that minorities and low-income patients face every day. By majoring in Human Biology/Public Health, I will be able to combine my passions for social justice and health equity to better understand how an individual’s social determinants of health affect their well-being. Classes on genetics will teach me how crises (famine, untreated illness, hereditary diseases, etc) and poor health of ancestors centuries and decades ago still influence the generation of today’s well-being through epigenetics. Learning the biological factors of health issues like obesity and high blood pressure will help me better understand why it is so prevalent in the African-American and Latinx communities. Learning the history of medicine will teach me why there is miseducation and lack of education in the healthcare industry about how to properly treat and diagnose minorities (for example, certain skin conditions are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed on dark skin because medical textbooks only show how they present on light skin). My toffee-colored skin, curly hair, and identity as Afro-Latina have shaped the way that I interact with the world and how I am treated. It has allowed me to see first-hand the discrimination, ignorance, and disenfranchisement that my community faces in healthcare at every level. As a part of my community, it is my mission to advocate for the medically underserved and work towards a career in STEM to put these disparities to an end. Only 5% of physicians identify as African-American and 5.8% as Hispanic - I want to counter this by becoming one and inspiring others like myself to join the ranks. My degree in Human Biology/Public Health will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to be as holistic as possible, being able to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care to all. Having the privilege to be awarded the Deborah Thomas Scholarship Award would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    She Rose in STEAM Scholarship
    Growing up, I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at the neighborhood clinic. Since my grandmother is primarily Spanish speaking, she preferred that I translate at every visit. These visits gave me an excuse to read my favorite book, “The Illustrated Atlas of the Human Body”, for the hundredth time. My insatiable curiosity about disease processes, drug prescriptions, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? During my internship at Mount Sinai this summer, every clinic in which I shadowed a physician sported a Pocketalk Plus - a state-of-the-art screen on wheels that instantly connects the patient and physician to a bank of interpreters who spoke 100+ languages. A years-long question reemerged in my mind: Why is there such a disparity in access to healthcare in small community clinics based in minority neighborhoods in comparison to large hospital systems? Is it because of a lack of resources or funding by the government? Having a Pocketalk Plus would certainly be useful in neighborhoods where English is not the first language for many people. These experiences opened my eyes to the disparities that minorities and low-income patients face every day. By majoring in Human Biology, I will be able to combine my passions for social justice and health equity to better understand how an individual’s social determinants of health affect their well-being. Classes on genetics will teach me how crises (famine, untreated illness, hereditary diseases, etc) and poor health of ancestors centuries and decades ago still influence the generation of today’s well-being through epigenetics. Learning the biological factors of health issues like obesity and high blood pressure will help me better understand why it is so prevalent in the African-American community. Learning the history of medicine will teach me why there is miseducation and lack of education in the healthcare industry about how to properly treat and diagnose minorities (for example, certain skin conditions are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed on dark skin because medical textbooks only show how they present on light skin). Although I have dual ethnicities (Black + Hispanic), my race is African-American. Because of my toffee-colored skin, curly hair, and facial features, this is how I am viewed by society. This perception has shaped the way that I interact with the world and how I am treated. It has allowed me to see first-hand the discrimination, ignorance, and disenfranchisement that my community faces in healthcare at every level. As a part of this community, it is my mission to advocate for the medically underserved and work towards a career in STEM to put these disparities to an end. Only 5% of physicians identify as African-American - I want to counter this by becoming one and inspiring others like myself to join the ranks. My degree in Human Biology will provide me with the tools for my practice as a future physician to be as holistic as possible, being able to effectively take into account each patient’s unique background to provide equitable care to all. Having the privilege to be awarded the She Rose in STEAM Scholarship would help me achieve this goal by eliminating a barrier to accessing quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that my community needs.
    Cliff T. Wofford STEM Scholarship
    Growing up, I used to look forward to attending my grandmother’s quarterly doctor’s visits at the neighborhood clinic. Since my grandmother is primarily Spanish speaking, she preferred that I translate at every visit. These visits gave me an excuse to read my favorite book, “The Illustrated Atlas of the Human Body”, for the hundredth time. My insatiable curiosity about disease processes, drug prescriptions, and anatomical structures was entertained by her doctors and nurses explaining their plan of care. This excitement did not mask the twinge of guilt I felt at the end of every visit. What if I made a translation error that negatively impacted her quality of care? During my internship at Mount Sinai this summer, every clinic in which I shadowed a physician sported a Pocketalk Plus - a state-of-the-art screen on wheels that instantly connects the patient and physician to a bank of interpreters who spoke 100+ languages. A years-long question reemerged in my mind: Why is there such a disparity in access to healthcare in small community clinics based in minority neighborhoods in comparison to large hospital systems? Is it because of a lack of resources or funding by the government? Having a Pocketalk Plus would certainly be useful in neighborhoods where English is not the first language for many people. These experiences opened my eyes to the disparities that minorities and low-income patients face every day. By majoring in Human Biology, I will be able to combine my passions for social justice and health equity to better understand how an individual’s social determinants of health affect their well-being. Classes on genetics will teach me how crises (famine, untreated illness, hereditary diseases, etc) and poor health of ancestors centuries and decades ago still influence the generation of today’s well-being through epigenetics. Learning the biological factors of health issues like obesity and high blood pressure will help me better understand why it is so prevalent in the African-American community. Learning the history of medicine will teach me why there is miseducation and lack of education in the healthcare industry about how to properly treat and diagnose minorities (for example, certain skin conditions are not diagnosed or misdiagnosed on dark skin because medical textbooks only show how they present on light skin). Although I have dual ethnicities (Black + Hispanic), my race is African-American. Because of my toffee-colored skin, curly hair, and facial features, this is how I am viewed by society. This perception has shaped the way that I interact with the world and how I am treated. It has allowed me to see first-hand the discrimination, ignorance, and disenfranchisement that my community faces in healthcare at every level. As a part of this community, it is my mission to advocate for the medically underserved and work towards a career in STEM to put these disparities to an end. Only 5% of physicians identify as Black - I want to counter this by becoming one and empowering others like me to join the ranks. Having the privilege to be awarded the Cliff T. Wofford STEM Scholarship would help me achieve this goal by providing me access to a quality higher education: the first step in my journey to being the agent of change that the community needs.