Write an essay where you tell us about what drives you in your pursuit of your graduate degree.

At the age of sixteen, I got my first job lifeguarding at the local community center pool, where I discovered that access to essential resources such as food, housing, and healthcare is not equal for all. The Gonzales Community Center is a hub of support for families and individuals struggling with homelessness and food insecurity. Working as a lifeguard, I distributed free lunch to children during afternoon family swim sessions, and I realized many of the families in my community relied on these special programs every week to care for their loved ones. The summers I spent lifeguarding before college, taught me that healthcare often takes a backseat in communities where many people deal with financial strain, housing insecurity, and fears regarding their citizenship status. Enlightened about the challenges my neighbors, and many other lower socioeconomic and minority communities around the world, face, I began volunteering at the Riverside Free Clinic (RFC) in college. At the RFC, I helped uplift my community by breaking down barriers to healthcare access.

Twice a month, I volunteered alongside medical professionals at the RFC to offer free healthcare to all who entered the clinic regardless of financial means and citizenship status. Checking my personal challenges at the door, I dedicated the highest level of respect and attention to each patient as they flooded in. Each clinic, I engaged with families, listened to their challenges, and supported them as best I could with resources to ease their worries. Working at the community center and volunteering at the free clinic has shown me that access to healthcare is not equal for all and that lower socioeconomic and minority communities experience the most significant gap in access to healthcare. My medically underserved community has inspired me to pursue a medical degree so that I can transform the health of my family, friends, and neighbors by increasing access to healthcare for all.

Alexis from California
University of California, Riverside School of Medicine