Tell us about yourself?

 I graduated from UCLA in 2020 with a degree in Bioengineering and a minor in Spanish. After UCLA, I received an MS in Global Health from UCSF. I currently work as a Project and Policy Analyst at the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence (LCOE). My research includes COVID-19 vaccine equity among communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area, healthcare workforce diversity, and unhealthy alcohol use in the Latinx community. We are working with community-based organizations and public health professionals to launch a promotora-led alcohol education initiative in San Francisco. I will be leaving my position at the LCOE at the end of June to matriculate at the UCSF School of Medicine in August.

How did your undergraduate degree in the Spanish & Portuguese department help you in your career path?

My time in the Spanish & Portuguese department was instrumental to my time at UCLA and my career path. I started learning Spanish in a bilingual middle school, and I wanted to continue learning through college. I knew I wanted to incorporate both language and STEM in my career, and minoring in Spanish at UCLA allowed me to continue refining this skill while taking engineering courses. Now, I use Spanish frequently when communicating with patients and analyzing qualitative research transcripts. Our alcohol education initiative is also conducted in Spanish. Language is a huge barrier when it comes to health and healthcare access; it makes a big difference when you can communicate with someone in their first language.

What career advice would you share with a current undergraduate student in the Spanish & Portuguese department?

Take advantage of the resources at UCLA! Upperclassmen are great mentors and can provide a lot of insightful advice, from choosing classes to networking for a career.  Another piece of advice is that everyone is following their own timeline. Choose the classes and activities that interest you and make you happy, and try to avoid comparing yourself to others.

Share two interesting facts about yourself?

I’ve traveled to over 30 countries. I practice Muay Thai.