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Melanie Gonzalez

1725

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

My name is Melanie Gonzalez and I am a studious and applied person. I have exhibited my leadership abilities and passion both inside and outside of my schoolwork. My career aspiration has always been to become a physician. I wish to specialize in neurology and hopefully, one day conduct ground-breaking research to treat and cure neurological diseases.

Education

University of Florida

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Biology, General
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

Miami Dade College

Associate's degree program
2020 - 2021
  • Majors:
    • Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies

Terra Environmental Research Institute

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences, Other
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      Neurologist

    • Research Intern

      Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
      2023 – Present1 year

    Sports

    Volleyball

    Intramural
    2018 – Present6 years

    Research

    • Medicine

      University of Florida — Research Assistant
      2023 – Present
    • Medicine

      Johns Hopkins School of Medicine — Research Assistant
      2023 – 2023
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

      University of Florida BLAB — Research Assistant
      2022 – Present
    • Neurobiology and Neurosciences

      MIT Biogen "Biotech in Action" — Research intern
      2021 – 2021
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

      Florida International University — Research Intern
      2020 – 2020

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      High School Advisors Program — President / Founder / Mentor
      2018 – Present
    • Volunteering

      UF Mobile Outreach Clinic — Care Coordinator
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Upcheive — Tutor / College Counselor / Mentor
      2021 – Present
    • Volunteering

      North Florida Regional Medical Center — Emergency department volunteer in charge of patient experience
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Interact Club — Drive Coordinator and Donated to Cause
      2019 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      School Supplies Drive — Drive Founder and Coordinator
      2020 – 2020
    • Volunteering

      Summer Fun Kids Camp — Camp Counselor
      2018 – 2018
    • Advocacy

      Miami Animal Rescue — Volunteer
      2019 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      Baptist Hospital — Volunteer
      2019 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Maxwell Tuan Nguyen Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled with unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Our roles had reversed: I was responsible for taking care of him, the same way he had watched over me since I was an infant. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of empathetic listening and interpretation made my day. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Our Destiny Our Future Scholarship
    Science has been the center of my universe ever since I can recall. The incredible sensation of analyzing specimens under a microscope. The beautiful and intricate processes that make our existence possible. Diving into the refreshing waters of medicine indulges my unquenchable curiosity and complements my caring nature. My majors offer me the flexibility to study diverse science fields that will adequately prepare me for the rigorous and critical training of medical school while also indulging me in the world of psychology, biology, and neuroscience. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my true calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture continues to shape every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. Mouth dry and leg jittery, I gathered the courage to introduce myself and start intake. Her velvety voice and sweet demeanor flooded my mind with childhood memories of my grandma reading me “La Edad de Oro”. The realization hit me. Mrs. D. was more than my patient - she was someone’s mother, daughter, or wife. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    STEM & Medicine Passion Essay
    Science has been the center of my universe ever since I can recall. The incredible sensation of analyzing specimens under a microscope. The beautiful and intricate processes that make our existence possible. Medicine has enthralled me from a young age and my family has supported me every step of the way. Diving into the refreshing waters of medicine will indulge my unquenchable curiosity and complement my caring nature. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandparents. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. I aspire to leave my mark in the medical field through groundbreaking clinical research and comprehensive patient care for minorities. As a native Spanish speaker, I will positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and passion for patient advocacy. I am determined to uphold the moral responsibility of the sacred physician-patient bond by listening to the patient’s life story and addressing their social determinants of health in addition to their pertinent medical issues. I also hope to become a role model for younger generations of women and minorities hoping to pursue a career in STEM, demonstrating we belong in the competitive field of medicine and science. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes a patient’s holistic needs, whose goal is to tear down the barriers caused by health inequities, is where I belong. Care coordinators are responsible for addressing patients’ social determinants of health. Brainstorming solutions and reviewing available resources enables me to create targeted plans for issues like domestic violence, food insecurity, and unemployment. My continued volunteer work with the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic motivated me to seek a Florida certification as a community health worker, enhancing my public health knowledge and communication skills for the betterment of my future patients. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. Mouth dry and leg jittery, I gathered the courage to introduce myself and start intake. Her velvety voice and sweet demeanor flooded my mind with childhood memories of my grandma reading me “La Edad de Oro”. The realization hit me. Mrs. D. was more than my patient - she was someone’s mother, daughter, or wife. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. The Medical Honors Program can unlock my potential, transforming my current self into a future scientist, leader, and physician. This accelerated BS/MD program provides an unparalleled edge to pursue research and clinical fellowships early on in my medical career. I look forward to further strengthening my ties to the Gainesville community and collaborating with my fellow Gators to elicit change in the future of healthcare.
    Maida Brkanovic Memorial Scholarship
    My family history and culture are as rich as the soil of my ancestor’s land. It all started with my family’s immigration. My parents left behind their lives in Cuba for the liberty that the United States granted, seeking political asylum from the oppressive Cuban government. My mother risked her life and fought to bring me to the land of the free, carrying me in her belly while she crossed the border and rode countless buses until she arrived in Miami, Florida. The story of the pain and hardship they experienced opened my eyes to the blessings I have. I owe everything to my parents, for their courage and determination bestowed upon me the privilege of a brighter future. “Work hard and you will achieve and surpass your goals,” proclaimed my mother as she tucked me in bed and kissed me goodnight. She hoped to water my seedling of a brain with this crucial life lesson; she succeeded. For as long as I remember academics have been my universe, enthralling me in each subject’s complexities and nuances. I have challenged myself nonstop, taking rigorous coursework for the thrill of learning. Golden trophies and shining medals can’t overshadow my greatest achievement: the indispensable knowledge I have gained throughout this never-ending journey. As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Our roles had reversed: I was responsible for taking care of him, the same way he had watched over me since I was an infant. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My culture continues to shape every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Hilliard L. "Tack" Gibbs Jr. Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Reasons To Be - In Memory of Jimmy Watts
    The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a native Spanish speaker, I aim to positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and patient advocacy. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes a patient’s holistic needs, whose goal is to tear down the barriers caused by health inequities, is where I belong. Care coordinators are responsible for addressing patients’ social determinants of health. Brainstorming solutions and reviewing available resources enables me to create targeted plans for issues like domestic violence, food insecurity, and unemployment. My continued volunteer work with the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic motivated me to seek a Florida certification as a community health worker, enhancing my public health knowledge and communication skills for the betterment of my future patients. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. Mouth dry and leg jittery, I gathered the courage to introduce myself and start intake. Her velvety voice and sweet demeanor flooded my mind with childhood memories of my grandma reading me “La Edad de Oro”. The realization hit me. Mrs. D. was more than my patient - she was someone’s mother, daughter, or wife. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. I aspire to keep giving back to underserved communities throughout my medical training and professional career as a physician. Giving back to my community is an integral aspect of my cultural upbringing. From a young age, volunteerism ingrained in me an appreciation for helping others and has taught me meaningful lessons about respect, compassion, and humility. My role as a patient advocate and Spanish interpreter in both outpatient clinics and hospitals has confirmed my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. My dedication and commitment to helping marginalized populations receive free quality primary care has been an eye-opening introduction to the public health issues and social determinants of health we face today. Addressing health disparities in my community is just the first step to a rippling effect of positive change nationwide. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    DRIVE an IMPACT Today Scholarship
    Bilingualism has taught me the beauty of language and the power of resilience. When I was young my native language was Spanish, a portal into my Hispanic culture that my family wished to create before my American schooling. In elementary school I was placed in ESOL classes where I began forming my foundation for English. Up until third grade I had never struggled in a class; academics were always my strong suit and A’s my bread and butter. Then came the earthquake that was reading comprehension, threatening to destroy my grades and my morale. I remember receiving its shock, the floor beneath me disappearing, as I stared blankly at the gigantic F smeared in red ink across my midterm exam. At home, tears rolling down my cheeks, my grandmother’s reassuring hug and kind words motivated me to improve. Day in and day out she sat down with me, teaching me figurative language through vivid examples and breaking down practice problems. I thank her for instilling in me my passion for reading but mainly for showing me that one’s shortcomings motivate us to strive. My grandmother watered me with her knowledge and fondness for literature and in my childhood my appreciation for reading blossomed and has to this day grown into a forest. My passion for reading is an untamable fire, setting my soul ablaze and sparking fireworks in my brain. Just like the rapid spread of wildfire, my obsession consumes me from the inside out. Reading is my personal escape from reality, my wardrobe to Narnia, a rabbit hole leading me to Wonderland, where time is but an arbitrary measurement that ceases to exist. Every book I choose symbolizes a journey that I must pursue; unknownst of where it will take me, I allow my imagination to freely roam and sour alongside Peter Pan on our way to Neverland. Throughout the years I have learned about the numerous benefits reading has in one’s education: cultural and thematic connections, enriched vocabulary, improved writing abilities, and analytic skills. Yet all of these can’t compete with the spotlight reading holds as my enjoyment, my escape, and my delightful addiction. Books have connected me to both my American and Hispanic heritage, have created a lasting bond with my abuelita, influenced my personality, and strengthened my admiration for the languages and cultures that I proudly embrace. Flash forward to junior year of high school. Entering AP English Language I felt anxious; although reading was by then my best friend, writing was still my weakness. Throughout the year I noticed my writing style progressing, slowly blooming from a simple seed to a beautiful lilac. I stepped out of my comfort zone and explored the unknown territories of writing I have now made my home. Now in undergraduate, I have conquered yet another critical language skill: public speaking. Exposing myself to undergraduate research symposiums and seminars helped me break my introverted protective shell and transform into a confident presenter. My experience with disseminating research findings led me to work as a research intern at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, a renowned world leader in investigative science and discovery. At the University of Florida, my neurolinguistics lab keeps me tethered to my cultural upbringing and academic beginnings by exploring the intricacies of bilingualism and cognitive neuroscience. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner.
    Michael Rudometkin Memorial Scholarship
    The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a native Spanish speaker, I aim to positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and patient advocacy. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes a patient’s holistic needs, whose goal is to tear down the barriers caused by health inequities, is where I belong. Care coordinators are responsible for addressing patients’ social determinants of health. Brainstorming solutions and reviewing available resources enables me to create targeted plans for issues like domestic violence, food insecurity, and unemployment. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. Mouth dry and leg jittery, I gathered the courage to introduce myself and start intake. Her velvety voice and sweet demeanor flooded my mind with childhood memories of my grandma reading me “La Edad de Oro”. The realization hit me. Mrs. D. was more than my patient - she was someone’s mother, daughter, or wife. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. I aspire to keep giving back to underserved communities throughout my medical training and professional career as a physician. During medical school, I plan on establishing a student organization that encourages multilingual medical students to pursue licensure as medical interpreters. Promoting access to electives and resources for certification is crucial to bridging language barriers in the medical setting and advancing the nation’s efforts toward inclusivity and representation in healthcare. My commitment to health literacy and educational outreach extends beyond the realm of medicine. My experience as a first generation student, forging my path while treading unknown waters, was highly influenced by the guidance of mentors from all walks of life. Inspired by the beautiful bond of mentorship, I sought to become a role model to the younger generation of students in my community. As the founder of the High School Advisors Program, I built a mentorship network for middle and high school students in Miami-Dade County. My leadership initiative helped hundreds of students prepare for their academic futures, especially amidst the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. I designed a website to broaden the program’s outreach and provide information on college applications, scholarships, and financial aid. This initiative sparked an interest in reducing educational inequalities nationwide, prompting me to partner up with Upchieve. Upchieve is a non-profit organization whose free, remote tutoring services are helping underprivileged students succeed academically. Volunteering as a tutor and college counselor, I eagerly advise students on their goals and career aspirations. My passion for educational equality branches out into my desire to give back to future generations through mentorship.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Walking In Authority International Ministry Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. The Mobile Outreach Clinic stood out to me because its message resonated with my own cultural upbringing and passion for public health reformation. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes the needs of diverse patient populations, whose goal is to bridge gaps caused by health inequities, is where I belong. This position encouraged me to utilize my bilingual skills and cultural background to provide personalized care to Hispanics and other marginalized groups in my community. Care coordinators are responsible for following up with patients and addressing their social determinants of health by creating targeted resource plans. As a Spanish interpreter, I help close the language barrier between patients and healthcare providers. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Becoming involved in this unique free clinic and observing the immediate and long-term impact our work has on our patients is inspirational. My dedication and commitment to helping marginalized populations receive free quality primary care has been an eye-opening introduction to the public health issues and social determinants of health we face today. Addressing health disparities in my community is just the first step to a rippling effect of positive change nationwide. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Cuervo Rincon Scholarship of Excellence for Latinas
    The University of Florida Mobile Outreach Clinic stood out to me because its message resonated with my own cultural upbringing and passion for public health reformation. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes the needs of diverse patient populations, whose goal is to bridge gaps caused by health inequities, is where I belong. This position encouraged me to utilize my bilingual skills and cultural background to provide personalized care to Hispanics and other marginalized groups in my community. Care coordinators are responsible for following up with patients and addressing their social determinants of health by creating targeted resource plans. As a Spanish interpreter, I help close the language barrier between patients and healthcare providers. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Becoming involved in this unique free clinic and observing the immediate and long-term impact our work has on our patients is inspirational. Giving back to my community is an integral aspect of my cultural upbringing. From a young age, volunteerism ingrained in me an appreciation for helping others and an optimistic view of the world. Volunteering has taught me meaningful lessons about respect, compassion, and humility. My role as a patient advocate and Spanish interpreter in both outpatient clinics and hospitals has confirmed my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. My dedication and commitment to helping marginalized populations receive free quality primary care has been an eye-opening introduction to the public health issues and social determinants of health we face today. Addressing health disparities in my community is just the first step to a rippling effect of positive change nationwide. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight. As a first-generation Hispanic woman in STEM, obtaining the financial aid to pursue a career as a physician means the world to me. My educational plans would be severely limited if it were not for the merit scholarships and financial aid I have received. Coming from a single-parent household, my mother bears the overwhelming bulk of financial responsibility. As a pre-med student, I am extremely dedicated to my academics and extracurricular involvements which limits my availability to pursue a part-time job for income purposes. This scholarship would help cover a significant portion of my unmet need, relieving the burden of financial stress and allowing me to stay focused on my educational and career aspirations.
    Catrina Celestine Aquilino Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Servant Ships Scholarship
    My passion for reading is an untamable fire, setting my soul ablaze and sparking fireworks in my brain. Just like the rapid spread of wildfire, my obsession consumes me from the inside out. Reading is my personal escape from reality, my wardrobe to Narnia, a rabbit hole leading me to Wonderland, where time is but an arbitrary measurement that ceases to exist. When I open a book, caressing its spine between my fingers, I eagerly cross the bridge to Terabithia, run at full speed towards platform 9 ¾, and become fully immersed in each unique world. Transfixed, my eyes jump from word to word on the page in front of me, my brain readily interpreting the visual signals, each puzzle piece perfectly fitting each other to form the final picture: a plot, characters, climax, themes, symbols. My heart races as the climax escalates, the tension of the scene making my fingers fidget, my eyes skim at the urge to turn the page and discover how the knot of the plot will unwind. Every book I choose symbolizes a journey that I must pursue; unknownst of where it will take me, I allow my imagination to freely roam and sour alongside Peter Pan on our way to Neverland. My grandmother watered me with her knowledge and fondness for literature and in my childhood my appreciation for reading blossomed and has to this day grown into a forest. In elementary, I struggled in reading comprehension for English was my second language, but my grandmother was my backbone. She taught me more than just the basics of figurative language and grammar, she instilled in me my affection for literature and I turn to her whenever I want a book recommendation or wish to pursue analytical discussions. Throughout the years I have learned about the numerous benefits reading has in one’s education: cultural and thematic connections, enriched vocabulary, improved writing abilities, and analytic skills. Yet all of these can’t compete with the spotlight reading holds as my enjoyment, my escape, and my delightful addiction. Books have connected me to both my American and Hispanic heritage, have created a lasting bond with my abuelita, influenced my personality, and strengthened my admiration for the languages and cultures that I proudly embrace. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight. I aspire to leave my mark in the medical field through groundbreaking clinical research and comprehensive patient care for minorities. As a native Spanish speaker, I aim to positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and patient advocacy. The UF Medical Honors Program can unlock my potential, transforming my current self into a future scientist, leader, and physician. This prestigious accelerated BS/MD program provides an unparalleled edge to pursue research and clinical fellowships early on in my medical career. The UF College of Medicine fosters a learning environment of creativity, innovation, and patient-centered care that aligns with my career aspirations.
    I Can Do Anything Scholarship
    I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner; I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Dr. Alexanderia K. Lane Memorial Scholarship
    The University of Florida Mobile Outreach Clinic stood out to me because its message resonated with my own cultural upbringing and passion for public health reformation. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes the needs of diverse patient populations, whose goal is to bridge gaps caused by health inequities, is where I belong. This position encouraged me to utilize my bilingual skills and cultural background to provide personalized care to Hispanics and other marginalized groups in my community. Care coordinators are responsible for following up with patients and addressing their social determinants of health by creating targeted resource plans. As a Spanish interpreter, I help close the language barrier between patients and healthcare providers. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Becoming involved in this unique free clinic and observing the immediate and long-term impact our work has on our patients is inspirational. Giving back to my community is an integral aspect of my cultural upbringing. From a young age, volunteerism ingrained in me an appreciation for helping others and an optimistic view of the world. Volunteering has taught me meaningful lessons about respect, compassion, and humility. My role as a patient advocate and Spanish interpreter in both outpatient clinics and hospitals has confirmed my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. My dedication and commitment to helping marginalized populations receive free quality primary care has been an eye-opening introduction to the public health issues and social determinants of health we face today. Addressing health disparities in my community is just the first step to a rippling effect of positive change nationwide. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Barbara J. DeVaney Memorial Scholarship Fund
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I realized that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight. As a first-generation minority in STEM, obtaining the financial aid to pursue a career as a physician means the world to me. My educational plans would be severely limited if it were not for the merit scholarships and financial aid I have received. Coming from a single-parent household, my mother bears the overwhelming bulk of financial responsibility. As a pre-med student, I am extremely dedicated to my academics and extracurricular involvements which limits my availability to pursue a part-time job for income purposes. This scholarship would help cover a significant portion of my unmet need, relieving the burden of financial stress and allowing me to stay focused on my educational and career aspirations.
    Ruebenna Greenfield Flack Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Strong Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship
    I aspire to leave my mark in the medical field through groundbreaking clinical research and comprehensive patient care for minorities. As a native Spanish speaker, I aim to positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and patient advocacy. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes a patient’s holistic needs, whose goal is to tear down the barriers caused by health inequities, is where I belong. Care coordinators are responsible for addressing patients’ social determinants of health. Brainstorming solutions and reviewing available resources enables me to create targeted plans for issues like domestic violence, food insecurity, and unemployment. I aspire to keep giving back to underserved communities throughout my medical training and professional career as a physician. During medical school, I plan on establishing a student organization that encourages multilingual medical students to pursue licensure as medical interpreters. Promoting access to electives and resources for certification is crucial to bridging language barriers in the medical setting and advancing the nation’s efforts toward inclusivity and representation in healthcare. My commitment to health literacy and educational outreach extends beyond the realm of medicine. My experience as a first generation student, forging my path while treading unknown waters, was highly influenced by the guidance of mentors from all walks of life. Inspired by the beautiful bond of mentorship, I sought to become a role model to the younger generation of students in my community. As the founder of the High School Advisors Program, I built a mentorship network for middle and high school students in Miami-Dade County. My leadership initiative helped hundreds of students prepare for their academic futures, especially amidst the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. I designed a website to broaden the program’s outreach and provide information on college applications, scholarships, and financial aid. This initiative sparked an interest in reducing educational inequalities nationwide, prompting me to partner up with Upchieve. Upchieve is a non-profit organization whose free, remote tutoring services are helping underprivileged students succeed academically. Volunteering as a certified academic coach, tutor, and college counselor, I eagerly advise students on their goals and career aspirations. My passion for educational equality branches out into my desire to give back to future generations through mentorship. Fulfilling my lifelong dream of becoming a physician gives me the confidence to ascertain that pursuing an MD is the perfect fit for me. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to treat patients and improve the healthcare system from the inside. My caring and compassionate nature perfectly complement my determination and work ethic, giving me the potential to one day be a great physician. The UF Medical Honors Program (MHP) can unlock my potential, transforming my current self into a future scientist, leader, and physician. This accelerated BS/MD program embodies the blessing of an extra year full of boundless possibilities for professional growth. The opportunities offered are unmatched: tight-knit community, tailored research, enriching curriculum, and early clinical exposure. The program’s advanced timeline provides an unparalleled edge to pursue research and clinical fellowships early on in my medical career. The UF College of Medicine (COM) fosters a learning environment of creativity, innovation, and patient-centered care that aligns with my appreciation for an interdisciplinary approach to medical education. As an MHP Ambassador, I enthusiastically represent the core values of UF COM while recruiting and guiding the next generation of physician leaders. I look forward to further strengthening my ties to the Gainesville community and collaborating with my fellow Gators to elicit change in the future of healthcare.
    Maxwell Tuan Nguyen Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Lauren Czebatul Scholarship
    The University of Florida Mobile Outreach Clinic stood out to me because its message resonated with my own cultural upbringing and passion for public health reformation. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes the needs of diverse patient populations, whose goal is to bridge gaps caused by health inequities, is where I belong. This position encouraged me to utilize my bilingual skills and cultural background to provide personalized care to Hispanics and other marginalized groups in my community. Care coordinators are responsible for following up with patients and addressing their social determinants of health by creating targeted resource plans. As a Spanish interpreter, I help close the language barrier between patients and healthcare providers. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Becoming involved in this unique free clinic and observing the immediate and long-term impact our work has on our patients is inspirational. Giving back to my community is an integral aspect of my cultural upbringing. From a young age, volunteerism ingrained in me an appreciation for helping others and an optimistic view of the world. Volunteering has taught me meaningful lessons about respect, compassion, and humility. My role as a patient advocate and Spanish interpreter in both outpatient clinics and hospitals has confirmed my desire to pursue a career in healthcare. My dedication and commitment to helping marginalized populations receive free quality primary care has been an eye-opening introduction to the public health issues and social determinants of health we face today. Addressing health disparities in my community is just the first step to a rippling effect of positive change nationwide. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight. As a first-generation Hispanic woman in STEM, obtaining the financial aid to pursue a career as a physician means the world to me. My educational plans would be severely limited if it were not for the merit scholarships and financial aid I have received. Coming from a single-parent household, my mother bears the overwhelming bulk of financial responsibility. As a pre-med student, I am extremely dedicated to my academics and extracurricular involvements which limits my availability to pursue a part-time job for income purposes. This scholarship would help cover a significant portion of my unmet need, relieving the burden of financial stress and allowing me to stay focused on my educational and career aspirations. I appreciate the committee’s consideration of my application.
    Connie Konatsotis Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My STEAM majors offer me the flexibility to study diverse science fields that will adequately prepare me for the rigorous and critical training of medical school while also indulging me in the world of psychology, biology, and neuroscience. These diverse and intriguing disciplines, alongside my participation in the Honors and University Research Scholars Program, have broadened my perspective on medicine, healthcare, and patient treatment. This foundational science background has facilitated my involvement in undergraduate research, ranging from neurolinguistics EEG studies at the University of Florida to cystic fibrosis cell culture research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. My research endeavors and clinical experiences have confirmed my aspirations to become a physician-scientist, a career bridging the continuum of bench to bedside discoveries. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Career Search Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Kim Moon Bae Underrepresented Students Scholarship
    My family’s immigration story is the start of my life. My parent’s journey from the oppressive Cuban regime to our home in Miami, Florida was one riddled with adversity and hardship. My father and my mother, who was at the time seven months pregnant, fled Cuba. They left everything behind: their home, their careers, their families. They risked their lives and could have suffered serious repercussions had they been caught by the Cuban government. I am blessed to have been born in the United States, the nation of freedom and countless opportunities. It was a miracle. And so the day I was born, they were not only celebrating the arrival of their first and only daughter, but the victory of having made it to this beautiful country. I owe everything to my parents, for their courage and determination bestowed upon me the privilege of a brighter future. My identity, who I am today, has been molded and shaped by my family’s influence, my Hispanic culture, my life experiences, and my education. As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter and Care Coordinator at the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Corrick Family First-Gen Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Humanize LLC Gives In Honor of Shirley Kelley Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Charity's Alumnus Erudition Award
    Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. The UF Mobile Outreach Clinic stood out to me because its message resonated with my own cultural upbringing and passion for public health reformation. Volunteering at a clinic that prioritizes the needs of diverse patient populations, whose goal is to bridge gaps caused by health inequities, is where I belong. This position encouraged me to utilize my bilingual skills and cultural background to provide personalized care to Hispanics and other marginalized groups in my community. Care coordinators are responsible for following up with patients and addressing their social determinants of health by creating targeted resource plans. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. Becoming involved in this unique free clinic and observing the immediate and long-term impact our work has on our patients has been inspirational. I aspire to keep giving back to underserved communities throughout my medical training and professional career as a physician. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Jeannine Schroeder Women in Public Service Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S that are historically underrepresented in healthcare. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was “Mrs. D.”, an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. She often contemplated suicide, finding life meaningless due to her deteriorating quality of life. Listening to her story, I quickly voiced my concerns to the provider and together we spoke with Mrs. D. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Her gratitude for the simple act of interpretation and providing resources targeting her social determinants of health made my day. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Fuerza y Ganas Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Young Women in STEM Scholarship
    1) My culture has shaped my everyday life, from the languages I speak to the food I eat. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and to connect with my Spaniard ancestors. Huevo frito con moro, vaca frita, and frijoles negros are a must in my diet, the savory taste and delicious smell bring me back to my origins. Music, from salsa to bachata, awakens my blood, and immediately my hips begin to move to the rhythm. My family history and culture are as rich as the soil of my ancestor’s land. My parents left behind their lives in Cuba for the liberty that the U.S granted. My mom fought to bring me to the land of the free, carrying me in her belly while she crossed the border and rode countless buses until she arrived in Miami. The story of the pain and hardship they experienced opened my eyes to the blessings I have and motivated me to pursue higher education. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. My passion and interest in psychology and neuroscience have prompted me to consider specializations in neurology and psychiatry. Regardless of my specialization, I wish to serve marginalized populations and the geriatric population due to my familial influence and upbringing. 2) Science has been the center of my universe ever since I can recall. The incredible sensation of analyzing specimens under a microscope. The beautiful and intricate processes that make our existence possible. Medicine has enthralled me from a young age and my family has supported me every step of the way. Diving into the refreshing waters of medicine will indulge my unquenchable curiosity and complement my caring nature. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandparents. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. I aspire to leave my mark in the medical field through groundbreaking clinical research and comprehensive patient care for minorities. As a native Spanish speaker, I will positively impact Hispanic patients through my language fluency, cultural competency, and passion for patient advocacy. I am determined to uphold the moral responsibility of the sacred physician-patient bond by listening to the patient’s life story and addressing their social determinants of health in addition to their pertinent medical issues. I also hope to become a role model for younger generations of women and minorities hoping to pursue a career in STEM, demonstrating we belong in the competitive field of medicine and science. 3) When I was young my native language was Spanish, a portal into my Hispanic culture that my family wished to create before my American schooling. In elementary school I was placed in ESOL where I began forming my foundation for English. Up until third grade I had never struggled in a class; academics were always my strong suit and A’s my bread and butter. Then came the earthquake that was reading comprehension, threatening to destroy my grades and my morale. I remember receiving its shock, the floor beneath me disappearing, as I stared blankly at the gigantic F smeared in red ink across my midterm exam. At home, tears rolling down my cheeks, my grandmother’s reassuring hug and kind words motivated me to improve. Day in and day out she sat down with me, teaching me figurative language through vivid examples and breaking down practice problems. I thank her for instilling in me my passion for reading but mainly for showing me that one’s shortcomings motivate us to strive. Flash forward to junior year. Entering AP English Language I felt anxious; although reading was by then my best friend, writing was still my weakness. Throughout the year I noticed my writing style progressing, slowly blooming from a simple seed to a beautiful lilac. I stepped out of my comfort zone and explored the unknown territories of writing I have now made my home. Bilingualism has taught me the beauty of language and the power of resilience.
    Christina Taylese Singh Memorial Scholarship
    As a little girl, I grew up in a multi-generational Hispanic household that bubbled full of unconditional love. My grandparents and great-grandparents were my caretakers and best friends, long before I attended elementary school. My upbringing established an appreciation early on for the elderly, ingraining the values of respect, patience, and compassion into my developing brain. However, at the time my young mind could not comprehend the imminent health problems that my grandfather faced. Struggling to financially sustain the family, my grandpa ignored the early warning signs of his hypertension; instead of seeking medical attention, he applied for a second job to make ends meet. At the age of 50, my grandfather suffered a series of hemorrhagic strokes that left him handicapped physically and verbally. His limited healthcare coverage prevented him from accessing necessary physical and occupational therapy. Despite these hardships, my grandfather’s eyes continued to sparkle with hope and he lived the rest of his life with optimism until his passing. As I matured, I reflected on my family’s experiences with the healthcare system and discovered the harsh realities of health disparities and inequities for the first time. Upholding the moral responsibility of caring for the geriatric population and serving as their advocate is my calling to healthcare. The elderly are often underappreciated in medicine; their vulnerability is exploited rather than embraced with humility and empathy. Grieving with my loved one as he struggled with a debilitating medical condition reinforced my decision to immerse myself in healthcare. My love for the never-ending field of science and medicine has merged with my desire to nurture relationships with patients like my grandfather. As a physician, I will contribute to the diversity of the medical field by representing Hispanics, one of the largest minority groups in the U.S. that is historically underrepresented in healthcare. Through my shadowing and volunteer experiences, I came to the realization that no other health profession provides the level of specialized training necessary to become an expert in geriatric medicine. My culture has shaped every aspect of my life. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and connect with my Caribbean ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I seek to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility for underprivileged populations. I recall my first patient was an elderly patient presenting with scleroderma and uncontrollable pain. I was inspired by her openness, confiding in me the noticeable mark her chronic disease had left on her mental health. My language fluency allowed me to convey empathy, compassion, and knowledge with the confidence that nothing was getting lost in translation. Every patient encounter reignites a passionate flame, leaving my heart yearning for the sacred doctor-patient bond. My culture has ingrained in me the importance of never giving up and the power of faith when facing adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me, that means following my dreams. I dream of obtaining the highest level of medical training as a physician to address the needs of underserved communities. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth, as I take on the role of doctor, teacher, mentor, and life-long learner. I will embrace the nuances of each role with my every breath, eagerly accepting the complexity of each case and most importantly, keeping the soul of medicine in the spotlight.
    Mary P. Perlea Scholarship Fund
    When I was young my native language was Spanish, a portal into my Hispanic culture that my family wished to create before my American schooling. In elementary school I was placed in ESOL where I began forming my foundation for English. Up until third grade I had never struggled in a class; academics were always my strong suit and A’s my bread and butter. Then came the earthquake that was reading comprehension, threatening to destroy my grades and my morale. I remember receiving its shock, the floor beneath me disappearing, as I stared blankly at the gigantic F smeared in red ink across my midterm exam. At home, tears rolling down my cheeks, my grandmother’s reassuring hug and kind words motivated me to improve. Day in and day out she sat down with me, teaching me figurative language through vivid examples and breaking down practice problems. I thank her for instilling in me my passion for reading but mainly for showing me that one’s shortcomings motivate us to strive. Flash forward to junior year. Entering AP English Language I felt anxious; although reading was by then my best friend, writing was still my weakness. Throughout the year I noticed my writing style progressing, slowly blooming from a simple seed to a beautiful lilac. I stepped out of my comfort zone and explored the unknown territories of writing I have now made my home. Bilingualism has taught me the beauty of language and the power of resilience. My culture has shaped my everyday life: the first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and to connect with my Spaniard ancestors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, I aim to overcome the language barrier that may prevent Hispanic immigrants from seeking care. Volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Mobile Outreach Clinic has integrated my passion for patient advocacy and healthcare accessibility within Latinx communities. I aim to diversify the medical field and address health disparities, especially within geriatric medicine. My culture has ingrained in me the loving bond of family, the importance of never giving up, the power of speaking up for what you believe in, and to never lose faith even in the face of failure and adversity. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me that means following my dreams. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth. I dream of greeting patients as I make my morning rounds at the hospital. I dream of working at a lab where I conduct clinical trials aimed at curing neurodegenerative diseases. Several of my loved ones have fallen ill to neurological issues such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, stroke, tumors, and cancers. The experience of grieving with them as they struggled with their medical condition made me realize that this career would enable me to help others like them. And so I work hard and give my all to the present, dedicating myself to my studies and my community, hoping to one day reach my goal.
    Minority/Women in STEM Scholarship
    When I was young my native language was Spanish, a portal into my Hispanic culture that my family wished to create before my American schooling. In elementary school, I was placed in ESOL where I began forming my foundation for English. Up until third grade I had never struggled in a class; academics were always my strong suit and A’s my bread and butter. Then came the earthquake that was reading comprehension, threatening to destroy my grades and my morale. I remember receiving its shock, the floor beneath me disappearing, as I stared blankly at the gigantic F smeared in red ink across my midterm exam. At home, tears rolling down my cheeks, my grandmother’s reassuring hug and kind words motivated me to improve. Day in and day out she sat down with me, teaching me figurative language through vivid examples and breaking down practice problems. I thank her for instilling in me my passion for reading but mainly for showing me that one’s shortcomings motivate us to strive. Flash forward to junior year. Entering AP English Language I felt anxious; although reading was by then my best friend, writing was still my weakness. Throughout the year I noticed my writing style progressing, slowly blooming from a simple seed to a beautiful lilac. I stepped out of my comfort zone and explored the unknown territories of writing I have now made my home. Bilingualism has taught me the beauty of language and the power of resilience. My failure to grasp English served as a critical stepping stone for the rest of my education. While at first this obstacle seemed daunting, my dedication and determination to succeed were more powerful than my fear of future failure. This optimistic and flexible mindset has transformed me into a person who is unafraid of learning from her mistakes. I face adversity, change, and challenge head-on and with a happy smile, knowing I will come out a stronger and more resilient person. This perspective has enriched the value of my education as I continue challenging myself nonstop, taking rigorous coursework for the thrill of the struggle and for the sake of learning. And so I keep pushing forward and persevering to reach my long-term goal of becoming a neurologist, overcoming all the stigmas related to being a Hispanic woman in the STEM field along the way. Diving into the refreshing waters of medicine will indulge my unquenchable curiosity and complement my caring nature. I wish to one day accomplish my life-long dream of graduating from a prestigious medical school. I wish to specialize in neurology and dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth. I dream of greeting patients as I make my morning rounds at the hospital. I dream of working at a lab where I conduct clinical trials aimed at curing neurodegenerative diseases. My family’s medical history has been riddled with the pain and suffering associated with strokes, paralysis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. I aspire to improve the quality of life of patients who suffer from neurological problems and ease the worries of their family members. I want to leave my mark in the medical field through groundbreaking research and my holistic patient care. I wish to in the future become a role model for younger generations of women and girls hoping to pursue a career in STEM, to teach them we are powerful and belong in the competitive field of medicine and science.
    Catrina Celestine Aquilino Memorial Scholarship
    It all started with my mother’s heroic actions. Eight months pregnant, my mother left her old life behind, her family, her country. For me. For our freedom. For my future. My mother risked her life, getting on a plane to escape the oppressive and tyrannical Cuban government. A painful trip ensued, her ankles throbbing from the never-ending bus rides that led her from Texas to my home in Miami, Florida. I will forever be grateful to my mamá for her selfless and courageous deed. For her determination to bestow me a bright future, even if it meant sacrificing her old life and her career. You see, my mother was just a year away from graduating from medical school in Cuba; a year away from becoming a professional and esteemed doctor. She knew if she graduated she would forever be incarcerated in the communist prison of Cuba. So she gave it all up for me. This is where my love for medicine stems from. From an early age, my mom watered me with her passion and knowledge for the medical field. My first toys were doctor sets: plastic syringes, stethoscopes and thermometers scattered across my house. I used to role play as a pediatrician, nursing and curing my “sick” baby dolls back to health. This nourishing home environment allowed me to blossom in elementary school where my curiosity in science was satiated. Throughout my entire educational journey, whether beginning to learn photosynthesis in 3rd grade or discussing complex regulation mechanisms in genetic expression in AP Biology, my mother was always by my side. She was and continues to be my backbone, supporting my educational endeavors and inspiring me to never stop asking questions, for the curiosity and intrigue to discover more is an important aspect of being a scientist. One of the reasons I aspire to become a physician is to continue where she left off, to continue her legacy and make her proud. However, my desire to go into healthcare roots not only from my maternal influence, it sprouts from my personality and academic interests. I have always loved helping others and giving back to my community, a quality embedded in me by my family and Hispanic culture. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me that means following my dreams. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth. I dream of greeting patients as I make my morning rounds at the hospital. I dream of working at a lab where I conduct clinical trials aimed at curing neurodegenerative diseases. And so I work hard and give my all to the present, dedicating myself to my studies and my community, hoping to one day reach my goal. My unique life experiences have led me down a winding path of overcoming challenges and discovering new interests. As an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, I have been academically challenged and exposed to a wide array of extracurricular activities. As a student in the UF Honors and University Research Scholars Program, I have had the ability to network with my scholarly peers, professors, and researchers. This summer I will be participating in the UF Summer Health Professions Education Program, a competitive enrichment program. I have also gained valuable clinical experience and professional development through my volunteering in the North Regional hospital and UF Mobile Outreach Clinic.
    First Generation POH Scholarship Fund
    My family’s immigration story is the start of my life. My parent’s journey from the oppressive Cuban regime to our home in Miami, Florida was one riddled with adversity and hardship. My father and my mother, who was at the time seven months pregnant, fled Cuba. They left everything behind: their home, their careers, their families. They risked their lives and could have suffered serious repercussions had they been caught by the Cuban government. I am blessed to have been born in the United States, the nation of freedom and countless opportunities. It was a miracle. And so the day I was born, they were not only celebrating the arrival of their first and only daughter, but the victory of having made it to this beautiful country. I owe everything to my parents, for their courage and determination bestowed upon me the privilege of a brighter future. My identity, who I am today, has been molded and shaped by my family’s influence, my Hispanic culture, my life experiences, and my education. All my life I have lived in Miami, Florida, yet my family history and culture are as rich as the soil and the blooming flowers it nourishes. My Hispanic culture has shaped my everyday life, from the languages I speak to the food I eat. The first language I learned was Spanish, the beautiful tongue I use to communicate with my family and to connect with my Spaniard ancestors. Music, from salsa to bachata, awakens my blood, and immediately my hips begin to move to the rhythm. Huevo frito con moro, vaca frita, and frijoles negros are a must in my diet, the savory taste and delicious smell bring me back to my origins. My culture is more than just a lifestyle, it is the root from which my dreams, aspirations, and life experiences have stemmed from. I grew up in a caring and loving household, where I was surrounded not only by my parent’s love but also the pure adoration of my grandparents and great-grandparents. As an only child, I was and continue to be the center of their universe. While I received all their love and attention, along with it came high expectations and a strict upbringing. From a young age I was taught the importance of education, and while I continued to strive for stellar grades and exceptional test scores, I never lost focus of the true goal: knowledge. Growing up with Hispanic parents, I had to prove my independence and maturity to participate in even the simplest teenage activities like going over to a friend’s house. But this only made my character stronger, for now I always persevere to accomplish my goals, I know how to effectively communicate my point and humbly accept the errors of my way. My culture has ingrained in me the loving bond of family, the importance of never giving up, the power of speaking up for what you believe in, and to never lose faith even in the face of failure and adversity. I am currently giving back to the Hispanic community by volunteering at the UF Mobile Outreach Clinic. As a Spanish interpreter and care coordinator, I help patients receive quality healthcare without the burden of a language barrier. After graduating undergrad, I aim to attend medical school and obtain my professional degree. As a physician, I will focus on addressing health disparities in underserved populations specifically in the Latino community. Coming from the same cultural background as my patients and speaking the Spanish language will help me form meaningful relationships and provide exemplary care to marginalized communities.
    Rho Brooks Women in STEM Scholarship
    It all started with my mother’s heroic actions. Eight months pregnant, my mother left her old life behind, her family, her country. For me. For our freedom. For my future. My mother risked her life, getting on a plane to escape the oppressive and tyrannical Cuban government. A painful trip ensued, her ankles throbbing from the never-ending bus rides that led her from Texas to my home in Miami, Florida. I will forever be grateful to my mamá for her selfless and courageous deed. For her determination to bestow me a bright future, even if it meant sacrificing her old life and her career. You see, my mother was just a year away from graduating from medical school in Cuba; a year away from becoming a professional and esteemed doctor. She knew if she graduated she would forever be incarcerated in the communist prison of Cuba. So she gave it all up for me. This is where my love for medicine stems from. From an early age, my mom watered me with her passion and knowledge for the medical field. My first toys were doctor sets: plastic syringes, stethoscopes and thermometers scattered across my house. I used to role play as a pediatrician, nursing and curing my “sick” baby dolls back to health. This nourishing home environment allowed me to blossom in elementary school where my curiosity in science was satiated. Throughout my entire educational journey, whether beginning to learn photosynthesis in 3rd grade or discussing complex regulation mechanisms in genetic expression in AP Biology, my mother was always by my side. She was and continues to be my backbone, supporting my educational endeavors and inspiring me to never stop asking questions, for the curiosity and intrigue to discover more is an important aspect of being a scientist. One of the reasons I aspire to become a physician is to continue where she left off, to continue her legacy and make her proud. However, my desire to go into healthcare roots not only from my maternal influence, it sprouts from my personality and academic interests. I have always loved helping others and giving back to my community, a quality embedded in me by my family and Hispanic culture. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me that means following my dreams. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth. I dream of greeting patients as I make my morning rounds at the hospital. I dream of working at a lab where I conduct clinical trials aimed at curing neurodegenerative diseases. And so I work hard and give my all to the present, dedicating myself to my studies and my community, hoping to one day reach my goal. My unique life experiences have led me down a winding path of overcoming challenges and discovering new interests. As an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, I have been academically challenged and exposed to a wide array of extracurricular activities. As a student in the UF Honors and University Research Scholars Program, I have had the ability to network with my scholarly peers, professors, and researchers. This summer I will be participating in the UF Summer Health Professions Education Program, a competitive enrichment program. I have also gained valuable clinical experience and professional development through my volunteering in the North Regional hospital and UF Mobile Outreach Clinic.
    Prime Mailboxes Women in STEM Scholarship
    It all started with my mother’s heroic actions. Eight months pregnant, my mother left her old life behind, her family, her country. For me. For our freedom. For my future. My mother risked her life, getting on a plane to escape the oppressive and tyrannical Cuban government. A painful trip ensued, her ankles throbbing from the never-ending bus rides that led her from Texas to my home in Miami, Florida. I will forever be grateful to my mamá for her selfless and courageous deed. For her determination to bestow me a bright future, even if it meant sacrificing her old life and her career. You see, my mother was just a year away from graduating from medical school in Cuba; a year away from becoming a professional and esteemed doctor. She knew if she graduated she would forever be incarcerated in the communist prison of Cuba. So she gave it all up for me. This is where my love for medicine stems from. From an early age, my mom watered me with her passion and knowledge for the medical field. My first toys were doctor sets: plastic syringes, stethoscopes and thermometers scattered across my house. I used to role play as a pediatrician, nursing and curing my “sick” baby dolls back to health. This nourishing home environment allowed me to blossom in elementary school where my curiosity in science was satiated. Throughout my entire educational journey, whether beginning to learn photosynthesis in 3rd grade or discussing complex regulation mechanisms in genetic expression in AP Biology, my mother was always by my side. She was and continues to be my backbone, supporting my educational endeavors and inspiring me to never stop asking questions, for the curiosity and intrigue to discover more is an important aspect of being a scientist. One of the reasons I aspire to become a physician is to continue where she left off, to continue her legacy and make her proud. However, my desire to go into healthcare roots not only from my maternal influence, it sprouts from my personality and academic interests. I have always loved helping others and giving back to my community, a quality embedded in me by my family and Hispanic culture. Living in America, the country of opportunities, I wish to reach my full potential and to me that means following my dreams. I dream of one day wearing a white coat, “Dr. Gonzalez” elegantly sewn into its cloth. I dream of greeting patients as I make my morning rounds at the hospital. I dream of working at a lab where I conduct clinical trials aimed at curing neurodegenerative diseases. And so I work hard and give my all to the present, dedicating myself to my studies and my community, hoping to one day reach my goal. My unique life experiences have led me down a winding path of overcoming challenges and discovering new interests. I have been exposed to clinical experiences, shadowing doctors at various clinics where my mom has worked as well as volunteering at Baptist Hospital. The research internship allowed me to integrate my knowledge with my communication skills, creating a collaborative environment where teamwork was key to our success. As an officer and member in several honor societies I have refined my leadership abilities and learned to balance my independent work with cooperation with others. Lastly, as my school’s Silver Knight nominee for General Scholarship, I have been recognized for my outstanding academics, impressive volunteer work, and initiative in my service projects.
    Rosemarie STEM Scholarship
    Science has been the center of my universe ever since I can recall. The incredible sensation of analyzing specimens under a microscope. The beautiful and intricate processes that make our existence possible. Medicine has enthralled me from a young age and my family has supported me every step of the way. I aspire to go to medical school and specialize in neurology. Double majoring in the STEM field offers me the flexibility to study diverse science fields that will adequately prepare me for the rigorous and critical training of medical school while also indulging me in the world of psychology, biology, and neuroscience. Following my undergraduate studies, I wish to pursue a doctorate degree (M.D) by attending medical school. Once I graduate as a physician I wish to specialize by interning and being a resident in neurology. I am open to exploring other medical specializations such as surgery, pediatrics, and oncology. In the future I also wish to conduct research such as clinical trials to evaluate possible drugs as treatments or therapeutics for neurological diseases. To reach this goal I am considering undergoing an M.D/Ph.D. program curriculum during graduate school.