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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. Only students with a current profile picture are shown. 

Please get to know our future scientists, educators, and health providers by hearing their stories and learning from their advice below!

Rodrigo

Career: Medicine

Rodrigo is a DREAMer and a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Rodrigo grew up in East Providence, Rhode Island, after coming to the United States with his parents at 10 months of age. They have rallied and organized Dreamers in Rhode Island and Washington D.C. to push for a permanent fix for DACA recipients. As a writer, Rodrigo's commentary on immigration policy is featured in Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and The Providence Journal. Locally, Rodrigo lobbied the General Assembly and the Governor for legislation granting undocumented immigrants driver's licenses. In 2018, the state passed a law ensuring that DACA recipients would be issued driver's licenses regardless of future federal policy. Due to their work on the issue, Rodrigo was asked to introduce Governor Gina Raimondo at the bill signing. Rodrigo will graduate from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Data Science.

Luis

Career: Medicine

First-generation Veracruz immigrant Luis Alberto Hernandez Campos, 22, lives in sunny Arizona. Growing up, ancestors and nation were foreign. My parents brought me to the US at one year old to end poverty. They struggled to attain goals and support their growing family without financial aid. They supported the family by working hard instead of going to college. While my father worked in the fields, my mother helped my grandmother sell products at home. US National Scholarship. Financial stress reduction and learning have greatly improved my life. Student Specialist at ASU's DREAMzone for DACA, undocumented, and mixed-status students was my second job. It showed financial issues.

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Alexis

Career: Physician Assistant

There were many factors that have influenced my decision to pursue a career in health. Ultimately, the main factor was my interest in
STEM from a young age. I was interested in science since the 5th grade and knew that I wanted to continuously expose myself to this
general field of study. A dreamer without the documentation. Facing obstacles that I had no control over but, braving them in search of my dreams. I wish to
become an asset to my demographic in the medical field to bring ease to patients that call two countries their home.

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Diana 

Career: Medicine, Public Health

I worked as an emergency room scribe which helped me familiarize myself with medical terminology. Having that past experience has
aided me with my current job as a patient care technician. I currently work in a cardiovascular floor where I take care of patients after
cardiac procedures such as CABG (coronary artery bypass graft), TAVRs (Transcatheter aortic valve replacement), and cardiac
catheterizations.

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Danira

Career: Ph.D

I was born and raised in Nigeria until my family decided to relocate to the United States when I was 13. While growing up in Nigeria, an  emphasis was placed on education and pursuing “high-ranking” jobs like a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. Consequently, I believed that becoming a doctor was the only way to contribute to building my community’s wellness. However, in Nigeria, I became curious about
mental illnesses after hearing my family’s opinion on a case involving suicide. I hope to gain research experience/skill, improved communication skill, knowledge on financial budgeting and interview
experience/skill. 

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Ayodeji

Career: Ph.D

I was born and raised in Nigeria until my family decided to relocate to the United States when I was 13. While growing up in Nigeria, an emphasis was placed on education and pursuing “high-ranking” jobs like a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. My undergraduate experience at Mississippi State University had an enormous impact on focusing my interest to clinical psychology. These research experiences provided me with the tools to identify, analyze and potentially solve problems that need to be adequately addressed in research and clinical work. One of these problems is covered in my current research interests: identifying and working toward bridging the gap of access to mental health care for minority populations.

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Jissela

Career: Medicine

I was born in El Salvador in the year 2000 - an impoverished country with poor healthcare infrastructure at the time . During my first two years of life, I experienced breathing difficulties. I visited the hospital multiple times a week for respiratory therapies, providing temporary relief but no doctor could get to the bottom of what was causing the difficulties - all because they didn't have access to the
necessary technology.

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Abdullah

Career: Medicine, PhD

From pre-K to twelfth grade in Maryland, housing in a 2-bedroom townhouse with six family members, I anticipated economic challenges. My life changed in the fall of 12th grade when I discovered I was a DACA recipient when applying for FAFSA. After preparing for numerous scholarships and chances, I was ready to seek them. I realized that my citizenship status would immediately eliminate my scholarship, internship, and other ambitions. I realized this more in college. I was unable to qualify for most scholarship and research programs due to ineligibility, making it challenging to secure funding for higher study. As a college student on the pre-MD/PhD route, intense competition arises due to limited possibilities and high demand. Sometimes, despite being competent for a position, such as a scholarship, research post, or job, I am not eligible. I participated in the McNair Scholars Program, a research-focused program for low-income and first-generation students, for a year. After the first year, I was supposed to completely enroll in the program to obtain funding for my research. Unfortunately, I was unable to join the program as I did not qualify for federal funding for my research projects.

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Eugene

Career: Medicine

Hello! My name is Eugene Kwon. I am a senior at Pomona College, where I major in chemistry. I'm from South Korea and I've lived in the neighborhood of Koreatown in Los Angeles with my mother since we arrived in the United States in 2014. From participating in the PEEP program, I hope to be a part of a community of like-minded immigrants in the US whose shared experiences help build the well-being and success of its members. I especially hope to connect and learn from this community in areas such as learning where to receive resources, networking, self-advocating, and learning to face issues plaguing an underrepresented community. Altogether, I hope to be able to succeed in fulfilling the goals of the cohorts of the program and give back to my communities.

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Joan

Career: Physician Assistant

As a young woman who grew up in Africa, with some corrupt and inconsiderate health care system and policy, I see and hear the news

of how people who get injured or sick and need immediate care are either neglected or not responded to quickly because of the non-
affordability of hospital fees which has resulted into many deaths of innocent individuals. That is why I choose and work towards becoming an Emergency Doctor, to provide immediate care to injured/ill individuals, to change the health care policy in my home country and other places with such policy and to build a legacy for myself. Also, to make a difference in people’s lives.

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Jim 

Career: Medicine

Hi my name Jim Reynosa. I am college student who dreams of going to medical school. I was born and raised in El Salvador until I was 15 years old and I am currently living in California. I went to high school and as I said before I am currently enrolled at CSUN. My main language is Spanish but I learned English before coming to the US. I hope for the future to be certified doctor and pursue a career
in medicine.

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Kelly

Career: Medicine, Postbaccalaureate program

What inspires me to pursue a health graduate/professional program is the need for representation of the undocumented community within higher education spaces. As a child, being a doctor was the only career I envisioned myself having. Due to the lack of healthcare access, I wanted to be able to provide the resources to those who were in need. The way healthcare is viewed more as a privilege rather than a right made me more upset. I also wish to create more of a representation within the spaces I enter so that those after me are discouraged to pursue their dreams.

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Isabel

Career: Exploring Medicine, Dentistry, Ph.D, Postbacc

Coming to the U.S. in my teens as an undocumented immigrant, and given that I neither knew English or had my parents nearby for support, I felt like I lost my voice. I couldn't express my opinions and thoughts to

others, which led me to lose confidence in myself and my abilities. During my second semester of college I decided to take action and overcome this challenge. I set up daily goals, make plans and stick to a schedule
diligently.

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Margarida

Career: Medicine, Ph.D, Physician Assistant

I always had to help others as much as possible. My mother and grandma always gave food, rides, and emotional support. Growing raised with these principles made me who I am, but I want to reach more people and change lives, especially undocumented ones. My shadowing doctor, Dr. Silka, inspires me. He is an educated, compassionate, and proactive doctor. No matter how long he's been in the hospital or how crowded it is, he's always happy and nice to his patients. His character will inspire me as a doctor, whether I become an ER doctor or not. Along with my interest in human physiology and anatomy, I want to be a doctor. With my undergraduate experiences, I wish to influence patients and bring them to a better health path by delivering ethnically or culturally appropriate patient care.

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Gabriella

Career: Medicine, Postbaccalaureate program

My name is Gabriella, and I am originally from Cameroun. Moving to the United States has provided me with numerous possibilities to further my education. I am currently in my last year of undergrad and will graduate in the spring of 2022 with a B.S. in Biology and a Chemistry minor. I enjoy tutoring and mentoring other students of the same background to make education more accessible for all. I hope to gain medical experience to apply to a medical school. I would love to become a physician and specialize in pediatrics. As a physician in the U.S., I hope to go back to the diverse community I grew up in and help eradicate the health disparities that are so prevalent.

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Deicy

Career: Exploring Medicine, Physician Assistant

31 year old dreamer from Mexico City. I was brought to the United States at the age of 3 years old. My parent brought my brother and I to the United States for a better future and to become someone in life. Throughout all my struggles I managed to graduate from a Medical Assistant program, my Associates in Science in Public
Health, and an Associates in Science in Kinesiology. Now I attend Cal State University San Marcos working on my Bachelor’s in
Kinesiology with a concentrate in body movement.

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Helen

Career: Medicine

I need to become more familiar with the process. However, I did a Pre-health Scholars Program this past summer at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and we had a session with the admissions team. During the session, we were presented with the different Medical School programs offered and how competitive they are. As a part of this program, I had the opportunity of shadowing
physicians in Internal Medicine, General Pediatrics, and Pediatric Surgery.

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Elizabeth

Career: Ph.D

Being the first one to go through the college process in my family, having to figure it out on my own. Finding support was hard, and the
struggles that come with being DACA recipient.

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Career: Ph.D

Being the first one to go through the college process in my family, having to figure it out on my own. Finding support was hard, and the
struggles that come with being DACA recipient.

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Career: Ph.D

Being the first one to go through the college process in my family, having to figure it out on my own. Finding support was hard, and the
struggles that come with being DACA recipient.

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Rosa

Career: Medicine

I think that the medical field offers many vital jobs and I would love to be apart of that community. I love helping people and if I could
do it through something I am passionate about, it is a double win. Dietetics is a good spot for me because it is affordable, interesting,
and relatively short.

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Karen

Career: Medicine

Navigating and dealing with my health complications is a stressor that I have encountered in college. While I have a medical condition and am receiving treatment, there are still instances where I get sick and have flare ups. This can mean having my thyroid hormone out of its normal range and therefore having me experience many difficult symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and weight loss/gain. Sometimes it makes me feel like I do not belong here, however I do not let that limit the goals that I want to achieve.

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Karen

Career: Medicine

Navigating and dealing with my health complications is a stressor that I have encountered in college. While I have a medical condition and am receiving treatment, there are still instances where I get sick and have flare ups. This can mean having my thyroid hormone out of its normal range and therefore having me experience many difficult symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, and weight loss/gain. Sometimes it makes me feel like I do not belong here, however I do not let that limit the goals that I want to achieve.

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Brenda

Career: Exploring all Health Fields

I am passionate about helping others. I love being at hospitals even when I am personally not feeling well I always found the hospital environment to be a safe and comforting place. This is where I learned to be more curious about job opportunities with patient care. I have also had to be a caregiver to all of my grandparents growing up so I became familiar with all of the medical terms and aftercare. I inspire to one day be able to provide that to others because as I do not have my grandparents with me anymore my drive is to be a part of caring and showing compassion to those who need help during their time of vulnerability. Lastly, as a mother of three I want to hold the example to my children of pursuing and obtaining a career one day that involved going to college or university.

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Yegi

Career: Exploring all Health Fields

Hello my name is Yegi Shin. I am currently pursuing Nursing as a major and I like to read self-help books in my spare time. Inspiration-from seeing similar peers and predecessors who have been in my shoes who are now flourishing. Experience-becoming experienced in different college programs and opportunities. Opportunities-to have the chance to excel in what I can do in my status
right now.

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Gabriela

Career: Exploring all Health Fields

My name is Gabriela, I was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Queens, New York at the age of 6. I graduated from The City college of New York - CUNY with a B.S in Psychology and Biology, and I am currently in my third gap year working as a Research Data Associate at NYU Grossman School of Medicine in the Healthy Brain and Aging department. My aspiration to become a physician stems from first hand exposure to the health disparities and inequities seen within my underserved/ immigrant community. As a future provider I want to provide quality and compassionate bilingual care, educate patients and be an advocate for better access to healthcare in underserved communities. In my free time I enjoy taking yoga classes, hiking, dancing (Peruvian folk and salsa!!), and spending time/traveling with my family.

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Norma

Career: Nursing

I have experienced unexpected spending during an automobile accident that totaled my vehicle and injured my body. I was fortunate to
be able to finish courses online and have my family for support with transportation and or public transportation.

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