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Trisha Patel


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I am Trisha Patel, a sophomore at UC Berkeley. I grew up in Salinas, CA, where I went to Rancho San Juan High School, which was a brand new high school that opened its doors in 2019. I was part of the first graduating class as their valedictorian. I have always strived to be a leader in and outside of the classroom. I have worked and volunteering with various organizations, like Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Cancer Kids First, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Natividad Hospital, and local elementary and middle schools. Living in a community filled with social inequality and unsafe circumstances, I have been determined to use my qualities and abilities to better my community. I was the president of the Puente Club at my high school, which helps and guides students in low-income families to go to a four-year university after high school. At UC Berkeley, I am a part of the American Medical Women's Association and was able to work with local children to improve their nutritional needs in Berkeley. By using what I am able to achieve and learn in Berkeley, I strive to help solve many of the issues, especially those that have to do with medicine, that my community in Salinas faces.


University of California-Berkeley

Bachelor's degree program
2022 - 2026
  • Majors:
    • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences


  • Desired degree level:

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

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Medicine
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Hospital & Health Care

    • Dream career goals:




      2018 – Present6 years


      • Trailblazer Award
      • MVP
      • League Sportsmanship Award


      • Indian Community of Monterey Bay

        2011 – Present

      Public services

      • Volunteering

        New Republic Elementary School — Volunteer
        2018 – 2019
      • Volunteering

        Homies Club — Tutor
        2020 – Present
      • Advocacy

        CSF — President
        2019 – Present
      • Volunteering

        Children's Miracle Network Hospitals — Volunteer
        2020 – Present
      • Advocacy

        Puente — President
        2018 – Present
      • Volunteering

        Interact Club — Secretary
        2019 – Present

      Future Interests




      WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
      During school morning announcements, I say “Que tengan un buen dia Trailblazers”; at home with my family I say, “tamero divas saru jaay.” They both mean “Have a great day,” yet couldn’t sound more different. I am still learning how to be my authentic self, while living in a predominantly Hispanic community, where my culture is not dominant and is often mislabeled, misunderstood. I believe that this makes me an asset in any diverse community. Yet, occasionally, I could not help but feel like my voice was marginalized. In times like these, I have found my cultural home and purpose in the Indian Community of Monterey Bay. An annual event that ICOMB holds is Navratri, which is a 9-night event to honor our goddess Shaktima. The most significant is the 8th night, called aatam. Interestingly enough, the smell of our gajar ka halwa during aatam reminds me of the pastel de tres leches I ate at my best friend Franchesca’s Quinceanera, the first quince I attended. And the dancing during Navratri reminds me of the fun, endless night of dancing I had with my best friend at the Quinceanera. Sliding between the fringes of both worlds can be terrifying, intimidating, and stigmatizing. At times, I was afraid of revealing the Indian culture that resides within me; worried that my peers would not accept me into their Hispanic community. But, I realized that being a part of both communities is a strength: to be fully embraced, and to embrace, to see the dignity in others, while being honored by them, and to enter into an established community, while forging a new one. Navratri is strength. The Quinceanera is a strength. Being Desi-Hispanic is a strength. The stigma that I had once felt about my identity is all too endemic to my own home town. Salinas was described as the youth homicide capital of California (Vice News). Hence, my most impactful leadership experience was one with no title, working with “The Homies'' club, a group of underrepresented students, who are often profiled as gang members because of their refusal to conform to school norms. The Homies Club found the marginalized of the marginalized, and it was here where I found that I could author a pathway for students who had felt excluded like me. When I was first given the opportunity to tutor them by Ms. Henry, I was skeptical. I then understood, I had bought into that same stigmatization. I had done to them what people had done to me. To counter these thoughts, I agreed to help in any way I could. I still vividly remember when one of “The Homies”, Adam, found out I was going to tutor him. He called his mom and said, “Mom! I finally have a math tutor!” Hearing the excitement in his voice made me emotional, realizing that I had to undo my own stigma. On that Thursday, I went into Ms. Henry’s classroom, ready with the problems. For about an hour, I taught the 17 of them key concepts, their curious eyes watching every move I made on the whiteboard. They were fully engaged. This day was the start of my relationship with them. In many instances, the Homies felt that the educational setting was not for them. I was able to create a welcoming environment, a space (just like I had found my own space in ICOMB and in my friends’ quinces) in which they actually saw themselves as though they belonged meaningfully with purposeful insight. They even repeatedly told me, “You should just be the teacher Trisha, you teach better!” I later realized why they said that. I was one of the few people they could trust to teach them in an open environment, in which they felt they had a purpose. Just like me, they finally saw themselves for who they are, rather than what other people assumed they were. This was my biggest accomplishment to date; seeing them move forward in their journey of education gave me motivation to keep helping my community. I hope to undertake many community service projects in the future and come back to Salinas after college to advocate for voices that are not heard.
      Andrew Perez Mental Illness/Suicidal Awareness Education Scholarship
      Bright red and white lights zoom past my house, breezing past memories of endless nights spent bedside at the hospital worrying about my grandma. Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital had become my second home. Rushing to the hospital after school become a norm. Doing homework, studying for AP tests, in the hospital became a norm. Unexpected phone calls from the doctor became a norm. I learned to both love, and hate, the hospital environment. Experiencing this first hand had a strong impact on my mental health, especially when my grandma passed away my junior year in my own home. This was the biggest hit emotionally for me and I was not ready for this to happen. But, I used my passion for the medical field and my determination that my grandma encouraged me to keep to further my work in my community. Since the hospital environment had become such a big part of my life, I associated hard work, determination, and perseverance with it. But I realized that when I looked through the lens of someone working in the hospital, I saw so many holes in the system. I saw poor bedside manner, lack of nurses, and lonely, hospitalized patients that didn’t receive the love they needed. To help tackle these obstacles in the current healthcare system, I joined the Interact Club at my school. Through this club, we worked with Everett Alvarez High School to raise money for the Wendy Baker Foundation. Because of hardwork and dedication, we were able to raise over $19,000. But I wanted to go further. So through SVMH, I reached out to the Children’s Miracle Network. With CMNH, we raised funds and helped families of children in our local community to pay for their medical bills and other necessary equipment, like the NATO cameras within the incubators. The memory is imprinted within me. Those cameras allowed two anxious and terrified parents to see their baby, fighting for their life, in the incubator; something my parents lacked when I was that baby in the incubator. We were even able to celebrate a “miracle birthday” for a child in long term care at the hospital with medical conditions that needs financial support. Additionally, just last year, my club and I volunteered to lead the hospitality booth at our community Relay for Life event. We were able to provide food and drinks to community cancer survivors before their relay. I connected with many community members in this way and talked to them about their experience. But, why is it that young people are the ones that have to step up and help in this way? We can only do so much; it is a band-aid on a gaping wound. I am determined to do more. This is why I want to become a hospital administrator, so I can impact the policies and systems that I see are drowning the healthcare system. Rather than just treating the symptoms of the disease that has spread in our healthcare system, I want to be a part of the cure, creating a safer, more comfortable and efficient healthcare system and hospital environment in my community.