I’m in Alaska working in a hospital! My journey has been challenging but rewarding. I graduated from LMU with a double degree in biology and Spanish. On one hand, I was excited to be the first person in my family to graduate from a university because it validated the hard work and sacrifices my parents made to get me to the United States. On the other hand, I had to face the uncertainty of my future as an undocumented individual. I could not attend graduate school or work without a Social Security number, so I moved back home to figure out my next steps.
Because LMU taught me the importance of social justice, I decided to dedicate my life to improving the community around me. The experience of my mother almost dying from diabetic complications, due to a lack of screenings and health insurance, inspired me to become a primary care physician. However, my dream of becoming a doctor would have to wait until there was a solution to my immigration status. Meanwhile, I took medical terminology and phlebotomy classes and volunteered at community hospitals. A year after I graduated, President Barack Obama created the DACA program, which gave me a renewable work permit, a social security number and the opportunity to achieve my dream. I worked as a medical assistant, studied for the MCAT at night and volunteered at hospitals on weekends until I received the wonderful news that I had been accepted to medical school.
I started my medical education at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in 2014. I know my calling is to provide care to all my patients regardless of race, nationality, religion or immigration status. The past year of medical school has been bittersweet, as I am very close to achieving my goals, but, unfortunately, DACA may be ended by the current administration. My future is in jeopardy because I may not be able to complete my residency, and thus I will not be able to practice medicine as a physician.
Now I’m completing my final medical school rotation in Nome before graduating. Although the future is uncertain, I look forward to the rest of my journey knowing that every challenge teaches me to be stronger, more compassionate and more resolved to help those in need.