“I am passionate about having a career and a lifestyle in which I can improve the lives of people in a direct and significant manner. I believe that effective healthcare is not only having the capacity to treat and cure diseases but also to prevent them and to help maintain people healthy and happy.”
Graduate Scholarship Recipient
Health Care, Languages, Liberal Arts, Medical Practitioner, Nonprofits, Public Policy, Sciences, Social Science / Anthropology
Environmental Science, Foreign Languages / International Study, Government, Health Care, Honor Society, International Relations / NGOs, Languages, Leadership Development, Liberal Arts, Literature, Nonprofits, Outdoor / Mountaineering / Camping, Sciences, Social Science / Anthropology, Student Government, Tutoring / Mentoring, Volunteer Work
Profile: Nahiris Bahamón Fernández was in her late teens in her native Colombia and was just about to begin college studies to become a physician when fate intervened. Because of political upheaval, Nahiris and her family sought refugee status and settled in Chicago. “Leaving Colombia in 2005 was hard on me, but it was especially hard for my parents. All of a sudden my dad, a former decorated Army Colonel, did not have a stable job or any property to rely on, and my mom found herself lost in a new culture and languange. Being able to assist them and support them during this time has been very rewarding. I became my parent's main translator and assistant and I acted as my younger brother's guardian for school and medical matters,” said Nahiris. Shortly after arriving in the States, the medical school plans that were put on the back burner, moved to the front. First there was a successful stint at a local Illinois community college were Nahiris shined in and out of the classroom, then it was on to the University of Wisconsin from where Nahiris graduated with honors in 2010. In the year since graduating from UW, Nahiris served as a health educator as part of the Chicago Health Corps, an AmeriCorps program. Next stop for this brilliant future doctor: medical school at Boston University.
Inspiration: Nahiris said Richard Jarman from the College of DuPage and Dr. Marjorie Jones from Illinois State University (where Nahiris worked as a research fellow) “have both been professors and mentors that have always challenged me and supported me in all my endeavors.”
Aspiration: Nahiris hopes to earn both an M.D. and a M.P.H. at Boston University.
Making a Difference: Nahiris said that helping her family adjust “emotionally, socially, and economically” to life in the United States has been her most rewarding experience.” In addition, wherever Nahiris has been she has found time to volunteer and to tutor students who need a hand.
Accolades: On her resume is a long list of honors that Nahiris has received both in the US and in her home country of Colombia. But she lists the Foundation’s two scholarship programs at the top, along with being named to the All USA Second Academic Team in 2008, the same year she was awarded the Guistwhite Scholarship.
Interesting Fact: Nahiris loves music, especially percussion instruments. “I automatically tap and bang as a drum any available surface as soon as I listen (or remember) a tune I like.”
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