Meet our Students!
We are excited to highlight the stories of some of our PEEP participants across the nation who are striving to attend graduate and health professional programs. This 2020-2021 Cohort consisted of 60 participants; half were from California and the rest from across the United States!
Please get to know our future scientists, educators, and health providers by hearing their stories and learning from their advice below
Alexis is a college access professional in the Central Valley. Born in México, he migrated with his family to the U.S. at a young age. After seeing his single mother work in the Central Valley's back-breaking agricultural fields, he was motivated to pursue higher education. He went off to UCLA and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a double minor in Chicana/o Studies and Labor & Workplace Studies. He then returned to the Central Valley and dedicated his professional career to educational outreach programs that service Fresno county. After countless years of encouraging his student to pursue their dreams, he is now committed to pursuing his own. Alexis is seeking a change in his career and hopes to become a healthcare professional that continues to be an agent of change in his community. Fueled by his passion for his family and community, his ultimate goal is to become a community physician in California's Central Valley.
Hello, my name is Adriana. I was born in Salina Cruz Oaxaca, Mexico. I was brought here to the United States at the age of 3 and have lived in California ever since. After high school, I decided to go to community college to decide what career I wanted to pursue. Going to Santa Monica College gave me time and the liberty to think and determine my choices clearer and my path rate. I recently transferred to California State University Northridge, pursuing a B.A in psychology and also pre-med, I hope to see myself in the near future applying to medical school to help others to pursue their goals too and support low-income, unrepresented and immigrant communities.
Career: Physician Assistant
I was born in Mexico, but North Carolina has been home for the past sixteen years. I have been fortunate to be a DACA recipient for about eight years now. But despite this opportunity, many of us have experienced limitations and barriers when pursuing higher studies. I am proud to say I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Health Science at Guilford College, Greensboro, North Carolina, this past May. As an aspiring physician assistant, I am currently working as a nurse assistant to acquire healthcare experience. I plan on applying to the physician assistant program of the following schools: Wingate University, High Point University, and Elon University. My future goal is to help DACA students through this same journey of obtaining a higher education and providing them with the same support and guidance I have received from friends and family.
I am a first-generation college student from Santa Ana, CA, who is pursuing a challenging career in medicine/public health. I am the oldest of five and the first one in my family to go into higher education and be a DACA student who has had a hard time applying to many opportunities. Moving to a new Country at five years old was difficult because of the language and new culture. Despite this, I recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in Integrative Biology and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice. I hope to give back to my community in the future
I am a second-year undocumented pre-dental student at Trinity Washington University. My passion for medicine was instilled by my mother, who was an Anesthesiologist in El Salvador for nearly seven years until I was born. Being undocumented for me has been overcoming barriers to get into undergrad and paying for college. Therefore I am grateful to be a recipient of the Dream.US scholarship for paying for undergrad. During my first year of college, I saw a nudge to go into Dentistry when my wisdom tooth became infected. Half my face was inflamed, and I was rushed to the dentist by my mother. It turned out that my wisdom teeth were pushing my teeth together because they were coming in horizontally. Within the next month, I was getting all four wisdom teeth removed. Now I am pursuing a Bachelors of Science majoring in Chemistry and an aspiring Dentist.
My name is Angelika. I was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when I was nine years old. Growing up, I was always taught that hard work makes your dream come true. Not until recently that I realized that's not entirely true. Arriving in the United States, unaware of my status, allowed me to see life through a different lens. My parents did not let me feel inadequate. I went to modeling school, did few fashion gigs, joined a dance crew in college, and did few dance competitions and shows afterward. I like reading self-help books relating to mental health. I like interior designing and building furniture. I love listening to poetry slams and writing with my oblique, dip pen in calligraphy. I love traveling and learning about different cultures as I go. I love hiking and discovering my limits. I love the ocean and realizing that life is, in some sense, limitless. However, underneath all of this, my passion lies in helping people. Seeing patients from my work go through heartbreaks to breakthroughs and breakthroughs followed by heartbreaks gives me the drive to move forward with science. Also, I want to make my parents proud, and my brothers are inspired to allow themselves to be whoever they want to be and live a life they are proud of.
Azucena is a Mexican immigrant who was raised in East Point and Fayetteville, Georgia. She is currently in the second year of her undergraduate studies at Trinity Washington University, where she studies Biochemistry. In addition, Azucena is an Eligibility Specialist at a non-profit medical clinic in Washington, DC. She breaks down those barriers for underserved DC residents by connecting them with medical services, food pantries, immigration lawyers, etc. Her goal is to become a physician and to bridge the gap of health disparities in marginalized communities.
Career: Medical Scientist (MD/PHD)
Catherine was born in Hong Kong on November 19, 1997. She emigrated from Hong Kong to the United States at three years old with her two brothers under her parents' authority. Since then, she and her family members have stayed in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants. Catherine is currently studying Linguistics at the University of Maryland and is seeking this degree to help with her future Medical career and study language. She desires to be a Medical Doctor and a Physician-Scientist (MD-PhD). Being an African undocumented immigrant, she has faced many barriers that have affected her personal life, mental health, and academic life. And though those challenges approached her, she still presses on and continues to trust in God that she will complete her degree and successfully become the Medical doctor she desires.
Hello, my name is Dafne, and I enjoy dancing the night away to some amazing Bachata, Salsa, or Cha Cha, you name it. I am active in my community by mentoring 6-12 graders wanting to pursue a STEM profession. I am a product of immigrants; born in Mexico and came to the states when I was two years old. Being a first-generation college student, it took me quite a while to navigate the environment, and I’m still figuring my way through the premedical path. I am an aspiring surgeon specializing in Neurology or Cardiology to serve underserved communities better. I hope to play a role in combating the health inequities that predominantly affect communities of color.
Hello, I am Denisse. I was raised in the Inland Empire, and I am currently a second-year student at the University of California, Riverside. I am pursuing a degree in biochemistry and ethnic studies. My goal is to become a physician and work for the underserved communities that are often forgotten. I am also passionate about fighting for the rights of women and immigrants. I am currently a volunteer for the Inland Empire Immigrant Youth Coalition, an organization where I have met beautiful people from many different backgrounds. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and being outdoors!
Career: Physician Assistant
Dania is an immigrant from Baja California, Mexico, who grew up in Southern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Merced, where she studied Biological Sciences with an emphasis on Developmental Biology. She is currently in her gap years completing the rest of the prerequisites and patient care hours for a Physician Assistant Program. Dania is presently working as a physical therapy aide in a local private practice serving a diverse community in Oxnard, CA. Her role as an aide gives her the responsibility to care for Spanish-speaking patients. She serves as a liaison between the doctor and patient to ensure the best quality of care to the community's underserved patients. She is very passionate about advocating for Spanish-speaking individuals by understanding their care at the practice. She believes in health as a human right and is motivated to utilize her skills in a place where she is most needed. Her professional goal is to become a Physician Assistant with a specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Hola! My name is Dulce, and I am a fourth-year student at UC Riverside. I was born in Mexico City and brought to the states when I was 2-years old. Due to my immigration status, I had to deny every university that accepted me out of high school and decided to attend Pasadena City College. At my community college, I discovered how to merge my interests in psychology and chemistry, which led me to pursue my B.S degree in neuroscience. Due to the lack of mentorship I had in high school into higher education, I now serve as a student mentor to students like myself. I also advocate for higher education to high school students in underprivileged communities and community college folks. My urology and rheumatology medical clinic work has also shown me the much work needed to do to build better communication and education between physicians and patients. Juntos Podemos!
Career: Physician Assistant
Hello! My name is Eva, and I am currently a junior at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. I’m a firm believer in being extraordinary and letting the best part of me shine. I’m currently learning Korean and dabble in some drawing and photography. I also love dogs and have four at home.
Eva is from Toluca, Mexico, and grew up in Orange County after moving to California at three. She completed high school at Western High School in Anaheim, CA, and is currently working on her bachelor's degree in Kinesiology while also completing pre-med prerequisites at California State University, Fullerton. She is currently working as a tutor and pre-college advisor with Upward Bound and her old high school. Recently she has had the great opportunity to become a social media ambassador to Virtue Mental, a non-profit organization that seeks to provide free mental health resources to underprivileged communities. Her ultimate career goal is to become an emergency physician and practice medicine in California.
My name is Jackeline, and I was born in the city of Guatemala, Central America. I migrated to the United States when I was nine years old, along with my sister. Moving to the US opened many doors and expanded opportunities for my sister and me to further our education. I received my high school diploma, was awarded scholarships, and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Education from San Francisco State University. I currently work as a Community Health Outreach Worker with youth. I am now looking forward to furthering my education and obtaining a career in the medical field as a Nurse.
Name: Jefersson; Hometown: East Los Angeles; Born in: Guatemala City, Guatemala; Degree: Bachelor's in Science; Career interested in: Medicine/ Nursing; Favorite hobbies: Watching soccer/basketball games with my brother and going bike riding
Greeting fellow peers, my name is Jhon, and I am a student from the University of California, Irvine, pursuing the medical field to become a doctor. I come from Peru, and one of my hobbies surrounds listening and making music. I am passionate about creating a healthcare equity environment within our undocumented community and advocating for health's basic human rights.
I was born in El Salvador and immigrated to the US when I was very young. I grew up in Virginia, where I attended the Governor's Health Science Academy at Cosby High School. Where I learned about healthcare careers and where my passion for the health sciences flourished. I'm currently completing a bachelor of science in Clinical Neuroscience at Virginia Tech. I'm very fortunate and ecstatic to be part of this year's PEEP Cohort! I enjoy giving back to the community through volunteering and helping those that need our help. I'm also very passionate about advocating for social change and representing those that are underrepresented. I aspire to become a doctor in the future, not only to help others but also to promote equity and change the world! I believe that it's imperative to keep dreaming, tackle obstacles with a smile, and encourage others to keep fighting for their rights. To not let the struggles define us, but to empower and make us grow.
“ Be optimistic, don’t get lost in the sea of despair, but be bold, be courageous and all will work out” - John Lewis
Career: Public Health
Joseph is a Junior pursuing Health Science at Rutgers University-Camden transferring from Camden County Community College. Joseph immigrated to the United States from Honduras at the age of 6 and desires to become a public health practitioner focusing on health equity, health policy, and health promotion for underserved communities.
Career: Physician Assistant
Mariel is a Mexican immigrant and a first-generation college student. She grew up in Colorado and moved to Riverside, California, in 2013. She is currently in her last year of undergrad and will be graduating in the spring of 2021 with a B.A. in Public Health Policy. She hopes to gain medical experience during her gap year(s) to apply to a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. When she becomes a PA-C, she hopes to serve uninsured Latino communities to address health disparities. In the future, she hopes to share her experience and pre-PA students.
My name is Martha. I am a third-year undergraduate student at the University of California Merced, majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology. I was born in Michoacán, Mexico, and currently reside in Los Angeles, California. Upon graduating, I plan to attend Medical School. My goal is to become a pediatrician to give back to my community. There are not enough bilingual or minority doctors servicing low-income communities, making doctor-patient communication difficult. As a minority myself, my goal is to help bridge the communication gap by going back and servicing the community where I grew up. I want to alleviate the stress parents undergo when having to discuss their children’s medical concerns, stress brought on because of language and cultural barriers.
Monserrath is an immigrant from Morelos, Mexico. She grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and has a Bachelor of Science in biology and Master of Science in biochemistry from the University of Scranton. She is the first in her family to graduate high school and college with the help of her supportive parents and family. Monserrath wishes to attend medical school to help her community gain better access to healthcare. She also enjoys tutoring and mentoring other students of the same background to make education more accessible for all.
I was born in Minas Gerais, Brasil. At the age of four, I immigrated to the United States with my family and grew up in Yonkers, NY. I am currently obtaining my Bachelor of Science from the University of Rochester in Microbiology with a minor in epidemiology. I hope to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. As a physician in the US, I hope to go back to the diverse community I grew up in and help eradicate the health disparities that are so prevalent. If given the opportunity, I would love to use my public health/epidemiology background and work abroad. It’s my dream to one day be able to travel back to Brazil, over 17 years later, with the ability to implement positive change.
My name is Valentina, and I am originally from Colombia. I am currently studying at a community college to get all my pre-requisites done to transfer to a nursing program. I would love to become a BSN and specialize in pediatrics. I have always loved to help people who need an extra hand.
Career: Research (PHD)
Victoria was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and was raised in a small rural community of the Central Valley called Porterville. She is a third-year undergraduate student at UC Merced. Victoria is pursuing a double major in Public Health and Spanish. Potentially in the future, she aspires to help underrepresented communities that lack healthcare resources and health benefits. She hopes that her success story becomes a role model for other undocumented first-generation Latinas who want to pursue higher education.
Yemile is a senior at Harvard College studying Human Evolutionary Biology. While Yemile is originally from Nuevo Leon, Mexico, she has lived in Houston, Texas, for most of her life. As a first-generation college student, she is active in advising other under-resourced students to encourage them to pursue higher education. Her goal is to become a pediatrician to provide better healthcare to children from low-income and immigrant communities. She also hopes to work towards fighting against healthcare disparities related to socioeconomic and immigration status.