Sarah Hernandez is working towards becoming a pharmaceutical researcher to help treat and possibly cure diseases like those that have attacked members of her family.
Sarah says her quest to help heal others started when she was a child, “My dad has really bad lung problems and I learned when I was young that pharmacists are the people that make the medicines that help make people better. I want to be part of that research to help people and to help families keep their loved ones.”
Sarah adds that she would like to work as a researcher in areas centered on the lungs and cancer.
Twenty-one-year-old Sarah expects to graduate from the University of Arizona (UA) with her Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology later this year. She has applied to the College of Pharmacy at the U of A but says it’s tough to get in, “The University of Arizona only takes in one-hundred people per year and over two thousand people apply. I’m really hoping to get in, but I’m also going to apply to other pharmacy schools in California and at Midwestern (university) in Phoenix.”
Sarah graduated from Carl Hayden Community High School on the west side of Phoenix and went on to earn a scholarship from College Success Arizona, which provides up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses.
College Success Arizona also provides students with specialized mentoring services and support in the form of a Success Adviser (mentor). Sarah offers high praise for her success adviser Matt Sotelo, “When anything goes wrong at school he’ll answer the phone and he’ll talk me through it and he’s also very encouraging and helps me to keep going.”
Sarah adds that the scholarship has helped to limit student debt and make her college dream come true, “Yes, if I didn’t have that scholarship school wouldn’t be possible for me. When I graduated from high school my parents wanted me to go to college but there was no way they could help me financially, so I had to find my own way. So the scholarship allowed me to get to college and continue my education, and I’m very thankful for that.”
The majority of students who earn scholarships through College Success Arizona have overcome major obstacles like economics and being first-generation students. Sarah points out that many young people from her school did not go to college, “It was really hard – not a lot of people graduated from my class and not a lot of my classmates got the opportunity to go to college. So, it’s been a really big privilege to attend college, and I hope that my experience can help inspire the younger generations to seek out hope.”
Sarah encourages middle and high school students to work hard and pursue their dreams:
“Keep pushing because it’s going to be worth it at the end. I know that through my time of transitioning and finding my way it’s been a bumpy course but if there’s a will there’s a way, but if not – you’ll find an excuse.”