2016 MSU Young Alumni Award Winner
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Position, Organization: Family Physician – Community Health and Social Services (CHASS), Henry Ford Health System
Major/Graduation: Bachelor of Arts, Spanish, 2002 and Doctorate of Osteopathic, 2008
Why you came to MSU?
I am originally from East Lansing and my parents were both Spartans, so I had a lot of exposure to MSU growing up. I also had the opportunity to walk on the MSU football team. As a large university that emphasized caring for the less fortunate, it was a perfect fit for me.
What you currently do?
I work in Southwest Detroit at CHASS, a Federally Qualified Health Center. I also teach medical students at MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center campus. I am the faculty advisor for Street Medicine Detroit, a Wayne State University School of Medicine organization that gives medical care to the homeless in Detroit.
What should new MSU students be prepared for following graduation?
Follow their dreams. Usually after graduating, we all start on the bottom of the totem pole. That means that many times we have to follow the instructions of our superiors. This can make it harder to follow your passions. I truly believe you can accomplish whatever you want. It may be difficult, but always keep those dreams close to your heart. My dreams have been to give those less fortunate, especially kids, the opportunities at living a healthy life. At CHASS, we have an annual 5K run/walk and kids race encouraging everyone to exercise even those with a lack of exercise experience. Putting a medal around someone’s neck that has never completed a 5K is special. Due to the amazing generosity of the 5k, we have been able to start our reach out and read initiative. This initiative allows us to encourage the importance of reading at home by giving a free book to all kids 6 months of age to 5 years of age at their well child visits. Giving the books to kids is by far my favorite part of my day. We also were able to start a Kids Bootcamp for kids who may be facing child obesity. On that day, we cooked and ate nutritious food, the kids walked a 5K on the Detroit River Walk, and climbed 26 flights of stairs to the top of the Hotel Crowne Plaza Pontchartrain Detroit. The look on their faces as they looked out at the Detroit skyline after climbing all the way to the top was priceless. Following your dreams and passions will bring amazing joy to your life.
“Always keep those dreams close to your heart.”
What should current students take advantage of while at MSU?
Get involved in everything. You can learn so much while at MSU. Much of that learning comes from outside the class room.
Why you majored in Spanish? What drew you to this field?
I was pretty unsure when I started. I had an amazing opportunity to do an alternative spring break in the Dominican Republic my freshman year. I knew at that time, I wanted to learn how to speak Spanish. I wasn’t sure how I was going to use it then, but I was very passionate about the Spanish language and the many Latino cultures. Due to that first experience, I was able to take advantage of the many amazing MSU study abroad programs by studying abroad in Spain, the Dominican Republic and Chile.
How your Spanish degree helped with your current success?
I work in Mexicantown Detroit. The majority of my patients only speak Spanish as they have immigrated from Mexico and Central America. My ability to speak Spanish allows me to give the best care to my patients.
Favorite memory at the College of Arts & Letters?
Spanish Linguistics class with Dr. Snow. He gave me the confidence in my ability to speak Spanish, and of course the experiences studying abroad were amazing!
Your advice to students?
Work hard, play hard, help others!