Alejandra

Hi Everyone,

I am ecstatic to share that I was accepted to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health! Although I have received some scholarships, and continue to apply to more, I am struggling to make this next step in my career happen due to being unable to receive federal financial assistance. Unfortunately, I am approximately $30,000 short for tuition and educational fees. I am asking for your support towards my graduate school education so that I can complete my degree by October 2021.

I know it is a lot to ask but I would be very grateful for any amount you are able to give. Any donations will solely be used to pay my tuition, educational fees, or books and I would be happy to continue to share my journey and progress with you.

As a non-traditional student, finishing this degree is not just an achievement for me, but also for my ancestors who could only dream of a more secure future, and for the students that will come after me to make our communities healthier.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

This is my story

As a transfer student at the University of Washington seeking a traditional undergraduate experience was challenging, more so when my competing priorities became housing stability, food security, and maintaining my caregiver role for my mother. I struggled in identifying resources available to students like me and confiding in advisers. My love for science galvanized me to forge my own path to explore and learn about research as many internships were not accessible with my status. I am grateful to have been raised by a single mother who despite a sixth-grade education, encouraged me to earn my Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology. Through the obstacles that I have faced, I have discovered a love for learning, a passion for research, and a desire to advocate for underserved communities.

As a volunteer at health fairs, I met a woman who was unsure about which medical services she should prioritize during her time there. She presented with multiple illnesses and had been waiting since the previous night as buses did not run early enough for her to line up that winter morning. Even the multiple resources we had available were deficient to provide the quality care she deserved. My official role may have been that of an interpreter, but I was also a confidant and a cultural broker. I recognized the extraordinary lengths that many patients go through to receive often limited care. Patient priorities might be securing housing, transportation, or food, and access to these resources are vital for medical adherence and follow-up care. I want to continue being an agent for positive change so patients can gain access to quality healthcare regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, country of origin, range of ability, sexual orientation, zip code, or other status.

The concept that health disparities arise from racist policy is not new, but disparities affecting Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) were magnified and laid bare during this pandemic. I am more motivated than ever to become a researcher for health justice and I see a rising wave of anti-racist support that inspires me. As a future public health researcher, I will share my knowledge with the community to best support the real-time intersectional reality of Latinx communities in Washington during this pandemic. I will humbly work with vulnerable communities to remove barriers and advance culturally relevant health programs that uplift families like my own. I look forward to the day I lead a public health research team to elucidate barriers to healthcare access, reduce health disparities, and implement equitable solutions for the most vulnerable.