At the age of ten, my family and I migrated to the United States. Despite the language and social obstacles that I faced in moving to Tucson, AZ, I remained focused on my academics and the University of Arizona has been the gateway to my academic success. I have come far from the Spanish monolingual ten year-old, however, two personal characteristics that define who I am today have not changed- my work ethic and my perseverance. My parents were not financially stable to support my college education, so as a senior in high school and even as a college student, I applied to many scholarships. Throughout my college career, I applied to around 68 scholarships and it consisted of writing different personal statements, and asking professors/faculty for letters of recommendation. Although it was tough to focus on my academics and apply to scholarships at the same time, I knew that this challenge would benefit me in the future. As a result, my undergraduate college experience has been possible due to the financial support of the University of Arizona Hispanic Alumni Scholarship, among ten other scholarships I received. I am blessed to have had this tremendous support and I will graduate this upcoming May debt-free, which is not the case for many college students. However, college is what you make of it, and my college experience has been extremely fulfilling, more than I have ever imagined due to perseverance, dedication, and hard work.
Providing for my own education was not easy, but I was determined to do so because I wanted a college education. The financial stability I established for myself allowed me to become involved on campus since my freshman year. During the summer of 2013, I was accepted to the UROC Minority Health Disparities Summer Research program and had the opportunity to closely work with Dr. Maas, and present a peer-reviewed research poster on Feedback and Feedforward control in Apraxia of Speech. This opportunity led me to join the Language, Learning, Literacy, and Lexicon lab under Dr. Alt. Through this lab, I was able to assess the speech of bilingual second graders, transcribe their speech, as well as interact with the Hispanic community. This fall semester I joined Dr. Marrone, in the Oyendo Bien (Hearing Well) program. Its purpose is to increase access to hearing health care in Nogales, Arizona and my role, as a research assistant is to input data received from the surveys given to the elderly population with hearing loss and their partners.
Last spring semester I participated in the Clinical Assistant Program. As a student observer under Dr. Wong, I had exposure to the on-campus audiology clinic and learned how to perform a pure-tone test using an audiometer, interpret an audiogram, and how to professionally interact with clients. However, this experience also taught me that there is a high need for bilingual audiologists and during the semester, I had the opportunity to interpret from English to Spanish to quite a few clients and their partners. The strong academic background I have acquired as an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, has prepared me to become a strong competitor for audiology graduate programs, which I will be applying to this fall semester.
Socially, I have been involved with Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) Task Force and through this leadership role, I had the opportunity to host our annual Cat Café event and be the Homecoming float co-chair. For two semesters during my undergraduate career, I was a student volunteer at the Banner University of Arizona Medical Center, specifically in the children’s hospital and the speech therapy department. Lastly, I have also been involved with the student government, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (ASUA). I have held positions such as a Spring Fling Street team member and Business Staff Supervisor co-chair. Last year, I was a Standards Board Director, and currently I am receiving internship credit for my position as one of the co-Diversity Directors. Next semester we plan to execute a Diversity Conference on campus, which will focus on genre roles, diversity at the university, and equality.
As my undergraduate career ends, I am blessed to have had been part of all these amazing organizations. The love I have for this institution and the friendships I have made is incomparable. I have gained so much knowledge. I have grown as a leader and as an individual. It is crazy to think that next May 2016, I will have to say good-bye to this school, but I am sure I will be back for many homecomings to come and will be an active alumna. Many donors made my undergraduate career possible and I will forever be grateful, which is the reason that I am determined to give back to students who are in need and hope to help make their undergraduate careers as magical as mine.