Full Name: Yazmin Irazoqui-Ruiz

Hometown: Albuquerque

School: University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Program: MD


I was born in Sinaloa, Mexico and brought to the United States at the age of 3. I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and was unaware of my undocumented status until the age of 16. At the time, my single mother had just had a stroke and I attempted to obtain a job to provide for our family. I remember approaching an Arizona lawyer for advice regarding my immigration status. I will never forget his words. It was his expert opinion that “[I was] no one and that [I would] never be able to obtain a post secondary education despite my exemplary academic and extracurricular record.” I remember these words, not out of resentment, but out of gratefulness for instilling in me a determination to fight relentlessly to realize my dreams. Seven years later, I have not only obtained my Bachelor of Science with honors, but have begun the journey to my lifelong dream of becoming a physician.My desire to become a physician has stemmed from the knowledge of knowing my mother gave up her profession as an MD in our native country. She longed for a better life for me than what Mexico would hold for us in the future, and for that I am forever grateful.  My hope is to become a bilingual physician who intimately understands the struggles of the community I am serving, my Hispanic community.

Fun Fact:

I have an identical twin sister who is currently a 2L at the University of New Mexico School of Law. Our achievements are a reflection of our amazing mother and her many sacrifices.

What advice would you give to future undocumented students applying to graduate programs?

If there is anything I can say, it is to never give up.  Keep knocking on doors and continue asking questions. What's the worst anyone can say? No? Even if it is a no, you'll be in the same position you were before you asked, there is nothing to lose. Remember where you came from, the dreams your parents have for you, and the community of fighters we belong to. I can speak from my experience that it has taken a community to get me where I am today. We are not alone.