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Helia Baez

1535

Bold Points

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Finalist

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Winner

Bio

My name is Helia Baez Armas, I am 19 years old, and hoping to start graduate school in the fall! I completed my associate's degree through an accelerated program during high school, allowing me to graduate with my bachelor's at such a young age. While completing my bachelor's, I took part in the leadership of many organizations, such as Psi Chi, Relay for Life, Roarthon, & Phi Beta Kappa. I’m also a current McNair Scholar. In the fall of 2024, I will start attending Carlos Albizu University in South Florida as part of the clinical psychology Psy.D program. My goal is to become a clinical psychologist and to provide treatment for patients in English and Spanish. I hope to make mental health more accessible for all. Although I plan to work with diverse populations, I am especially passionate about advancing mental health care for those with disabilities and chronic illnesses as these communities are often overlooked when it comes to mental health services. I’m passionate about psychology and advocating for disabilities and mental health. I’m also a cancer survivor! I was diagnosed at 13 and underwent treatment for a year. Luckily, I am now in remission; however, I still suffer from chronic conditions caused by the tumor. In addition to this, I have also suffered a lot with memory as a side effect of chemotherapy, this means I sometimes have to work twice as hard as some of my peers to get the same work done. Nevertheless, I've never let this put me down, through determination and hard work I have been able to overcome these obstacles and am on my way to accomplishing my goal!

Education

Carlos Albizu University-Miami

Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)
2024 - 2029
  • Majors:
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology

Florida International University

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General
  • GPA:
    3.9

Miami Dade College

Associate's degree program
2020 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Psychology, General
  • GPA:
    3.9

Miami Senior High School

High School
2018 - 2022
  • GPA:
    3.9

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Psychology, General
    • Clinical, Counseling and Applied Psychology
    • Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Mental Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Clinical Psychologist

    • Tutor

      Educational Services Miami
      2024 – Present7 months
    • Intake Specialist & Research Assistant

      Child Anxiety & Phobias Program
      2023 – 20241 year
    • Part-Time Student Success Advisor

      Miami Dade College
      2024 – Present7 months
    • Psychology Department Observer

      Nicklaus Children's Hospital
      2023 – 20241 year

    Research

    • Psychology, General

      Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program — Primary Researcher & Author
      2023 – Present

    Arts

    • Arts For Learning

      Drawing
      2020 – 2021

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Child Anxiety & Phobias Program — Research Assistant & Intake Specialist
      2022 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Alternative Breaks — Camp Leaders
      2023 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Relay for Life — Survivorship Chair
      2022 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      FIU Peer Mentors — Peer Mentor
      2023 – 2024
    • Advocacy

      Fight Like A Kid — Advocate
      2018 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Nicklaus Children's Hospital — Child Life Volunteer
      2019 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      Self Run Tutoring — Tutor
      2018 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Roarthon — Family Relations Chair
      2022 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Independent — I organized toy drives and put together kits to distribute to cancer patients at Nicklaus Children's Hospital
      2020 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Entrepreneurship

    Andrew Michael Peña Memorial Scholarship
    At thirteen, I was diagnosed with cancer. I faced a year of grueling treatment, enduring chemotherapy, and radiation. I battled with physical and emotional challenges. This was a very difficult time for me; however, this was to be expected. Given the countless side effects of treatment, I knew that this wouldn’t be easy. What I wasn’t prepared for was life after cancer. After treatment, you go into remission. Not cured, there is no cure, but in remission. Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery.” Being in remission brought its own set of challenges. For one, because of the tumor, I acquired multiple chronic medical conditions. Remission also brought on a barrage of emotions. I was grateful to be alive, but also frustrated and angry at what my new life had become. I was no longer the same girl I was before, now I had more doctor's appointments than I could count, took numerous medications, and had to deal with chronic conditions. I fell into severe depression during my first year of remission. As all these changes were going on in my life, it was tough because after experiencing something like cancer, you’re expected to be happy and inspirational all the time; after all, you’re given a second opportunity to live. Yet, I didn’t always feel so inspirational. These expectations weighed on my shoulders and made it difficult for me to reach out for help, even to the people closest to me. I felt like a burden to my family. I also lived in constant angst because there are always the “what-ifs.” What if the cancer comes back? What if the migraine is not just a migraine? I also dealt with survivor’s guilt. Throughout my time in treatment, I made a lot of friends also battling cancer. Not all of them survived, and that’s something I carry with me. I also carry the painful memories of my time in treatment, some of which, to this day still bring me to tears. With all the turmoil and overwhelmingness of emotions, at one point I even contemplated giving up. What was the point of fighting a battle that would never end? After all, I couldn’t change my past and my medical conditions are all chronic. I struggled with all this for a long time, and it’s scary to think that my mind would fathom the thought of suicide. But it did. However, I decided that if I was able to beat cancer, I could overcome this too. With the help of a psychologist, I learned coping strategies, and gradually embraced my reality, finding comfort in small victories. Now, five years post-treatment, I continue to cope with these emotions, understanding they're part of my journey. Slowly, I’ve learned to embrace my new normal and all that comes with it. My goal in life is to become a clinical psychologist and work with people from all walks of life who are suffering from mental health issues, especially those with chronic conditions. I can understand these patients better than anyone else because I’ve been in their place. Starting my doctorate in clinical psychology this fall, I aim to enhance my skills to provide effective care, including bilingual services to bridge language barriers. Rather than let cancer and all that it brings be the end of me, I decided to use it as motivation to help others suffering from mental illness.
    Sharra Rainbolt Memorial Scholarship
    It’s funny to think how one simple word, “cancer,” can turn your life upside down. After my diagnosis, I spent a year receiving chemotherapy and radiation. And I will spend a lifetime taking pills, getting scans, visiting numerous doctors, and with a lifelong memory of that excruciating year. This wasn’t easy, sometimes I felt like giving up. An experience like this can take a toll both physically and psychologically on anyone, especially a child. I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family who stood beside me throughout all of treatment, and still does. My diagnosis had a huge impact on their lives as well. While in treatment, my parents put their lives on hold to stand by me. My mom had to leave her job in order to stay with me during the extended hospital stays, causing financial strain. Although she couldn’t work, the medical bills still piled up. My parents also carried the burden of having to stay strong to help me stay strong, even though they were shattered by my circumstances and lived with the uncertainty of whether their little girl would make it through the night. Luckily, I’m now in remission! Looking back, I can truly say that having the support of my family made all the difference. Even though my odds were slim, together we fought against cancer and won the battle. Although I’m in remission, I still suffer from multiple chronic conditions caused by the tumor such as hypopituitarism, severe damage to the optic nerve, and memory issues. I’ve struggled with these daily, especially in college. I wasn’t able to memorize the material as quickly as my peers, it was defeating, putting in almost twice the effort to achieve the same outcome. I also had to be hospitalized multiple times. Yet I wasn’t willing to give up, I’ve survived too many storms to be bothered by raindrops. So rather than give up, I used my illness as motivation to succeed, graduating top of my class and accomplishing much more than I ever imagined. I will be starting a clinical psychology doctoral program at just nineteen years old this September. A few years ago, it was uncertain that I would survive to reach this age. My cancer journey has taught me many valuable lessons most importantly, that you can’t take life for granted. We aren’t promised a tomorrow therefore we have to make the most of every day. I learned to appreciate the little things and celebrate small victories. I also learned that even after you are in remission, cancer doesn’t just end. To this day, I still carry the memories of my time in treatment, fear a relapse, and live with the effects of the tumor. You can’t just “get over” cancer, surviving it becomes a part of who you are. However, I also learned that cancer patients aren’t to be pitied; they are warriors fighting for their lives. Because although we didn’t choose this war, we refuse to go down without a fight. Lastly, I learned the value of support. Having my family and medical team by my side supporting me made a huge difference while I was in treatment. That is why my goal is to become a psychologist and work with patients with cancer and other disabilities. I can understand these patients better than anyone because I’ve been in their shoes, and they can connect with me on a deeper level for that same reason. I hope to one day look back and say that I was able to make a difference in the lives of these patients.
    Zamora Borose Goodwill Scholarship
    My goal is to advance mental health care and to make it more accessible, and my future career as a clinical psychologist will help me do just that. At thirteen years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and spent a year in treatment, during which I received both radiation and chemotherapy. This was a very difficult time that took a toll on me not only physically but also emotionally. However, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing team of people by my side supporting me. Luckily, I’m now in remission, but I still remember how difficult this was and the positive impact that having support had on me. Through this experience, I realized that I wouldn’t want anyone going through a difficult situation to have to experience it alone. My cancer journey and passion for psychology have led me to pursue a career as a psychologist. As a psychologist, I will be able to provide individuals with a unique kind of support. Not only will I be able to provide a listening ear so that individuals feel heard and understood, but I will also provide techniques for coping and self-betterment. Teaching them these skills will help individuals overcome their mental health difficulties in a healthy way. While I plan to work with diverse patients, I am particularly passionate about helping those with disabilities and chronic illnesses. These individuals often face unique mental health challenges, and through therapy, I can help them manage both the physical and psychological components of chronic illness associated with their condition. I can empathize with these patients because I have been in their shoes, and they can relate to me on a deeper level for that same reason. One of my goals is to share the story of how I beat the odds by surviving cancer and inspire them to keep fighting. Another goal of mine is to be able to provide treatment for patients in both English and Spanish. Mental health illnesses are still highly stigmatized in Hispanic cultures leaving Hispanics suffering from mental health conditions with little to no support. To make matters worse, according to the American Psychological Association, only 5.5% of psychologists said they could provide services in Spanish. By taking bilingual assessment and treatment classes during my doctoral program, I aim to tear down language barriers and offer patients the comfort of receiving care in their preferred language. To achieve my goals, I will start a clinical psychology doctoral program this fall. Acceptance into such a competitive program is one of my proudest accomplishments. However, reaching this point was not easy. At the young age of 17, I graduated from high school with my Associate’s Degree through an accelerated dual enrollment program. Although it was an amazing opportunity that put me ahead of the game and lessen the financial strain caused by attending college, it also meant I had less time to make myself a competitive candidate. As the first in my family to attend college, let alone graduate school, I lacked guidance on making myself a better applicant and navigating the application process. My parents have been extremely supportive, but their knowledge and financial resources are limited. Additionally, despite being in remission, I suffer from chronic illnesses caused by the tumor and memory difficulties due to chemotherapy. However, rather than let these challenges bring me down, I decided to use them as motivation to accomplish my goal of standing by others through their darkest moments. I hope to one day look back and be able to say that I made a difference in the lives of others.
    John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship
    It’s funny to think that one simple word, “cancer,” can drastically change the trajectory of your life in a matter of seconds. After my diagnosis, I spent eight months in treatment, receiving both chemotherapy and radiation. I'll spend a lifetime taking pills, visiting oncologists, getting scans, and living with an aching memory of those eight months. This wasn’t easy. Sometimes I felt like giving up. Going through an experience like this can take a toll physically and psychologically, especially on a child. I was fortunate enough to have a supportive team of people by my side, including a psychologist. My psychologist helped my family and me cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness. She provided emotional support and guided me through every step of the way. Luckily, I am now cancer-free, but I still remember the hard times I went through. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through that alone; for this reason, I’ve decided to become a psychologist. My goal is to work with those suffering from serious or chronic illnesses, as well as those with disabilities because I can understand them better than anyone else, having experienced firsthand what they’re going through. These individuals often face unique mental health challenges. Through therapy and counseling, I can help them manage these issues, build resilience, and improve their overall well-being. By addressing not only the emotional and psychological challenges but also the physical symptoms and strategies for chronic illness management associated with their condition, I can help patients cope with their situation, ensure their treatment adherence, and improve their overall quality of life. I plan to tailor my therapeutic approach to the specific needs of each person; in doing so, I can ensure that they receive care that acknowledges their experiences and challenges. Overall, I want to make mental health care more accessible and better suited for a community that is often overlooked. In addition to working directly with the patient, my goal is to collaborate with the rest of the healthcare team to ensure the patient's psychological well-being is considered in order to provide the best holistic and comprehensive care. I am certain that through my doctoral program, I will learn the skills that will make me an amazing psychologist. The program offers unique opportunities to treat and diagnose patients in both English and Spanish. This will help make mental health care even more accessible, as not many psychology clinicians can provide treatment in Spanish. I truly believe that this program will afford me opportunities that will not only change my life but also help me change the lives of others. Rather than let cancer bring me down, I decided to let surviving cancer and my passion for psychology and mental health be my motivation to push forward, strive to be the best, and give back to those who are facing the same unexplainable pain I went through. One day I hope to look back and be able to say that I made a difference in their lives.
    Hicks Scholarship Award
    Winner
    My name is Helia Baez, I’m 19 years old. And I am a cancer survivor. At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor which required me to be in treatment for almost a year. During this time, I received both chemotherapy and radiation, as well as numerous transfusions. This was a very difficult time for both my family and me. I was constantly in pain, feeling ill, or nauseous. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing team of people supporting me, but I wouldn’t want any child to go through this alone. That is why after finishing treatment, I decided to volunteer on the oncology unit at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. I volunteered for 5 years during which I met many patients and survivors. I truly feel like I was able to make an impact on these kids; however, I had to stop volunteering because of complications with my health. Getting the opportunity to meet patients and become part of their journey is an experience I have no words for. I was able to be part of some of their milestones, such as the first and last chemo. I also served as the shoulder to cry on in the more difficult moments, like when hair loss began. Being part of experiences like this led me to want to pursue a career that allowed me to work with patients. Later this passion, combined with my love for psychology, led me to decide to become a clinical psychologist. I would like to focus my work specifically on young patients with chronic and severe illnesses, especially cancer. I know firsthand that this diagnosis can take a toll on a person, both physically and emotionally, so who better to help other patients, than myself? They can relate to me on a much deeper level than with other psychologists. Achieving this dream would not be easy, doctoral programs in clinical psychology are extremely competitive, and I knew that given everything, I would have to work twice as hard as anyone else, but I was going to let that stop me. I put my everything into my work allowing me to achieve a 3.97 GPA, partake in the honors college, conduct and present research as a McNair scholar, volunteer at a clinic for patients with anxiety, and participate in Relay for Life, among many other things. My hard work paid off, and I was accepted into my dream program, a Psy.D in Clinical Psychology! I’ve beat the odds more than once: first by surviving cancer and now by getting into this program. I am a fighter and resilient. I have overcome every obstacle from being first-generation to struggling with my health, to chemo brain. I am determined and ambitious, and I refuse to be seen as just a victim of cancer. That is why I would be a great candidate for this scholarship. I sit here today representing every cancer patient and survivor alike when I say that we aren’t victims who should be pitied; we are warriors who are fighting a battle that we didn’t choose but are determined to win. I hope that in the future I will be able to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of cancer patients, as well as pass along that message. I also hope to tell them my story and how I decided not to give up, instead, I’ve used it as motivation to give back to those facing the same inexplicable pain I faced. I hope that the Hicks Scholarship Award committee will stand alongside me as I do just that.
    New Beginnings Immigrant Scholarship
    When I was a young girl, my parents decided to leave our home country and move to the United States. Leaving behind their entire lives with nothing but aspirations, they left searching for a better future for their child. They were correct, this country was filled with bright opportunities for me; however, that wasn’t necessarily the case for them. They both came later in their lives not speaking the language. They were forced to work whatever jobs they could find to feed their families and make ends meet. I’ve seen them as they worked day and night and got home nearly exhausted. I’ve also seen them struggle with the language barrier. As a child, I often served as their translator, navigating complex documents with limited understanding. When I tried to explain that I didn’t understand, I was met with a “Como que tu no entiendes, tu hablas inglés.” “What do you mean you don’t understand, you speak English.” This is the reality I grew up with, though I can’t complain. Although we struggled to make ends meet, my parents made sure I never lacked anything. They always did their best to hide their struggles from me, so that I wouldn’t worry, yet I always have. My parents wanted a life for me that was better than the one they had, so they encouraged me to go to college to better my future. Watching them as I grew up made me also want to have a better future, and to be able to give them a better life than the one they could afford. Witnessing their sacrifices fueled my determination to excel academically and pursue higher education. However, this was not an easy feat, I struggled a lot more than my classmates because I didn’t have anyone who could help me with assignments. My parents didn’t speak the language and the education system in Cuba is very different from the one here, and expensive tutoring sessions were out of the question. Things only complicated themselves when it came time to apply to college, I am the first person in my family to enter college. I had to teach myself how to apply to college, financial aid, and everything else. I went to college and graduated with my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I will now start my doctoral program in the fall in clinical psychology! My goal is to become a clinical psychologist, and as someone who understands the struggles of an immigrant family, I hope to provide treatment in both English and Spanish. This is extremely important because it would help reduce the language barrier and make mental health care more accessible. Not many psychologists can provide treatment in Spanish. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, only 5.5% of psychologists said they could provide services in Spanish. That is a big problem, especially given that such a large part of the South Florida community is Hispanic. I hope to fill this gap and provide treatment in which of the two patients feel more comfortable. Rather than allowing adversity to deter me, I've used it as motivation to pursue a career that addresses the needs of immigrant families like my own. I am committed to making mental health care more accessible by offering treatment in both English and Spanish. I believe this endeavor aligns with the mission of the New Beginnings Immigrant Scholarship, and I hope to receive your support as I work toward this important goal.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    It’s funny to think that one simple word, “cancer,” can drastically change your life. After my diagnosis, I spent a year in treatment during which I received both chemotherapy and radiation. This wasn’t easy, sometimes I felt like giving up. Going through an experience like this can take a large toll not only physically, but also psychologically on a person. Luckily, I’m now cancer-free, but I still carry these difficult memories with me. This is why I decided to become a psychologist. My goal is to work with those with disabilities or severe illnesses because I can understand them better than anyone else since I’ve been in their shoes. As a psychologist, I can help cope with the stress of illness, as well as provide emotional support and guidance every step of the way. Obtaining my Psy.D in clinical psychology will help me do exactly that. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy task, because of my tumor, I now suffer from multiple chronic conditions along with what is known as “chemo brain.” This is when patients begin to struggle with their memory and thinking as a permanent side effect of treatment. I sometimes struggle to retain information which means I must work twice as hard as my peers to complete my work. I knew that my dream of getting into a graduate program in clinical psychology would require a lot of work and effort on my part; however, I’m no stranger to hard work, and I am most certainly not scared of it. I’ve worked diligently and have been able to achieve a 3.96 GPA. As well as conduct my own research project as a McNair Scholar, partake in the Honors College, volunteer with multiple organizations, and participate in extracurriculars around campus. I have managed to do all this in my two years at FIU as I graduated from high school with my Associate’s Degree. I was able to accomplish more than what most students manage to do in all four years! My goal is to make mental health care something inclusive and accessible to all. By becoming a psychologist, I hope to increase awareness of the need for more treatment options for those who need it most and provide services for these communities. Despite facing adversity, I was able to overcome this and achieve excellence, and I am determined to continue to achieve greatness and give back to the community. I have everything it takes to succeed in the program and become a great psychologist. However now an obstacle stands in my way, my parents came to this country when I was very young in search of a better future for me. To this day, my family struggles to make ends meet. This makes it very difficult for me to be able to pay for graduate school, and as much as my parents would love to help me pay, as I mentioned, it’s not an option. My options are very limited, which is why I must rely on the help of scholarships to achieve my goals. This scholarship would provide me with the help I need to pay for my graduate program. This same graduate program will allow me to help communities that need it the most. I’ve shown determination and passion for a cause and a career that I know can help me make an impact in the lives of many. I know that I have the potential to change the future of mental health accessibility, and I hope that the committee for the Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship will stand by me as I do.
    Autumn Davis Memorial Scholarship
    At thirteen, I was diagnosed with cancer. I faced a year of grueling treatment, enduring chemotherapy, and radiation. I battled with physical and emotional challenges. This was a very difficult time for me; however, this was to be expected. Given the countless side effects of treatment, I knew that this wouldn’t be easy. What I wasn’t prepared for was life after cancer. After treatment, you go into remission. Not cured, there is no cure, but in remission. Defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “a diminution of the seriousness or intensity of disease or pain; a temporary recovery.” Being in remission brought its own set of challenges. For one, because of the tumor, I acquired multiple chronic medical conditions. Remission also brought on a barrage of emotions. I was grateful to be alive, but also frustrated and angry at what my new life had become. I was no longer the same girl I was before, now I had more doctor's appointments than I could count, took numerous medications, and had to deal with chronic conditions. I fell into severe depression during my first year of remission. As all these changes were going on in my life, it was tough because after experiencing something like cancer, you’re expected to be happy and inspirational all the time; after all, you’re given a second opportunity to live. Yet, I didn’t always feel so inspirational. These expectations weighed on my shoulders and made it difficult for me to reach out for help, even to the people closest to me. I felt like a burden to my family. I also lived in constant angst because there are always the “what-ifs.” What if the cancer comes back? What if the migraine is not just a migraine? I also dealt with survivor’s guilt. Throughout my time in treatment, I made a lot of friends also battling cancer. Not all of them survived, and that’s something I carry with me. I also carry the painful memories of my time in treatment, some of which, to this day still bring me to tears. With all the turmoil and overwhelmingness of emotions, at one point I even contemplated giving up. What was the point of fighting a battle that would never end? After all, I couldn’t change my past and my medical conditions are all chronic. I struggled with all this for a long time, and it’s scary to think that my mind would fathom the thought of suicide. But it did. However, I decided that if I was able to beat cancer, I could overcome this too. With the help of a psychologist, I learned coping strategies, and gradually embraced my reality, finding comfort in small victories. Now, five years post-treatment, I continue to cope with these emotions, understanding they're part of my journey. Slowly, I’ve learned to embrace my new normal and all that comes with it. My goal in life is to become a clinical psychologist and work with people from all walks of life who are suffering from mental health issues, especially those with chronic conditions. I can understand these patients better than anyone else because I’ve been in their place. Starting my doctorate in clinical psychology this fall, I aim to enhance my skills to provide effective care, including bilingual services to bridge language barriers. Rather than let cancer and all that it brings be the end of me, I decided to use it as motivation to help others suffering from mental illness, and I hope that the Autumn Davis Memorial Scholarship will support me as I make a difference for those who need It most!
    Julie Holloway Bryant Memorial Scholarship
    At the young age of 19, I’ve just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology! My next step in life is to begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology this coming Fall. My goal in life is to become a clinical psychologist and work with patients from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life, especially those with chronic illnesses. At thirteen, I was diagnosed with an intracranial germinoma, which is a type of tumor located on the pituitary gland. This experience was extremely challenging for me. Going through an experience like this can take a large toll not only physically, but also psychologically on anyone, especially a child. I was fortunate enough to have an amazing and supportive team of people by my side including a psychologist. My psychologist helped me and my family cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness. She also helped me through treatment by providing emotional support and guidance through every step of the way. Luckily, I am now in remission, but I still remember those difficult times. We all face our own challenges; for me, it has been overcoming my disability. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to or to help us cope and overcome these difficulties. That’s why I want to become a clinical psychologist: to help individuals with their mental health struggles and provide the support they need to help them overcome their struggles. Graduating with my Psy.D in clinical psychology will prepare me to do just that! While in the program, I plan to partake in bilingual assessment courses, which teach future clinicians how to treat and diagnose patients in English and Spanish. This is extremely valuable as not many psychologists can provide treatment in Spanish. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, only 5.5% of psychologists said they could provide services in Spanish. That is a big issue, especially given the many Hispanic families out there who need services. By learning how to treat and diagnose patients in both languages I can tear down the language barrier that prevents so many families from reaching out for help. Being bilingual has many benefits, but I think that to me, being able to cultivate inclusivity has been such a key thing in my life. As someone who is bilingual and values service, I have been able to help countless individuals throughout my lifetime by translating for them. As simple as this might seem, it’s really difficult to need or want something but to be unable to communicate it. Being bilingual has also allowed me to both maintain my native Cuban heritage, but also immerse myself in American culture here in the U.S. Bilingualism is also something that according to research has multiple cognitive benefits. However, there is also a downside to it. One of these is that it feels like I’ll never fully master both languages. I know both and speak them fluently; yet, I still find myself confusing words in English and Spanish. Another downside to being bilingual is that it has led me to face prejudice. I will never be American enough, but I will also never be Cuban enough which makes it so that I receive hate and commentary from both ends. Although being bilingual has both benefits and challenges, I believe that the value of the good outweighs the bad. I will become a great psychologist in the future, and I know that being bilingual will allow me to make mental health treatment more accessible. I hope that the Julie Holloway Bryant Memorial Scholarship will stand with me as I make an impact in this world.
    Redefining Victory Scholarship
    In my eyes, success is being able to give back to the community of patients with chronic and severe illnesses. At the age of thirteen, I was diagnosed with an intracranial germinoma, which is a type of tumor located on the pituitary gland. This diagnosis was something that altered my life completely, after it, I spent almost a year in treatment during which I received chemotherapy and radiation. I will also spend a lifetime with chronic conditions caused by the tumor and taking numerous medications. Although I am now in remission, I still remember how difficult my time in treatment was for my family and me. I was constantly fatigued, in pain, or simply feeling ill. Even to this day I still struggle to manage my physical and mental health, along with living a “regular” life. That is why I hope to become a clinical psychologist and specialize in working with patients who suffer from chronic and severe illnesses. My goal is to help patients and their families cope with the stress and uncertainty of illness. I plan to provide them with emotional support and guidance throughout treatment, and during remission as learning to adapt back to a normal life can be a challenge for a lot of cancer patients like myself. Success to me is being able to make a difference in the lives of kids going through the same period of turmoil that I experienced. Sometimes success isn’t just about how much money you make, or how much you own; sometimes, it’s about the mark that you can leave on the lives of others, which is what I hope to do. I hope to tell kids the story of how I too was in their shoes, and how rather than let cancer bring me down, I decided to use it as my motivation to succeed and help others going through similar struggles. My hope is that my story will inspire them to keep fighting and not give up. In order to achieve success and become a clinical psychologist, I must first attend a doctoral program in clinical psychology. These programs are extremely competitive, and I knew that it would not be easy to accomplish this task. Because of my health struggles, I found myself a lot of times having to work twice as hard as some of my peers. However, I am no stranger to hard work, and I am certainly not afraid of it. Throughout my time as an undergraduate, I worked diligently and tirelessly to make myself a worthy candidate for a doctoral program. I conducted my own research project as a McNair Scholar, worked as a tutor and mentor for students, and participated in numerous clubs and activities while maintaining a 3.96 GPA! Even while doing all this, I never forgot my “why,” and continued to advocate and contribute to the cancer community as a child life volunteer at Nicklaus Children's Hospital as well as by working closely with Roarthon and Relay for Life. Finally, as I approach the end of my undergraduate career, all my hard work paid off. I was accepted into a doctoral program in clinical psychology! I have everything it takes to succeed in a doctoral program: passion, perseverance, grit, drive, resilience and so much more. However, one final obstacle stands in my way to success: paying for the program. Unfortunately, Psy.D programs are very expensive and my financial situation makes it nearly impossible for me to pay for this program without help from scholarships like this one. I live with my single mother, and we live paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet. The medical expenses brought on by my medical conditions. The Redefining Victory Scholarship will help me mitigate the financial burden that accompanies a Psy.D in Clinical Psychology. In doing this, they will also be helping me accomplish my definition of success, which is being able to help those with chronic and severe medical conditions. In the words of Michelle Obama, “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” I resonate with this quote, and it matches my not-so-typical definition of success. I hope that the scholarship committee of the Redefining Victory Scholarship will help me achieve success by making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.