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December 2014 Junior Alumnus of the Month

CHCI Program: 2012 R2L NextGen

School: Florida International University

Hometown: Doral, Florida

R2L NextGen junior alumnus Bryan Diaz was born in Havana, Cuba, and came to the United States of the tender age of six. As a first-generation college student, he is proud to be the first in his family to pursue a degree and aspires to be a change agent in the medical field. Bryan is currently studying at Florida International University (FIU) and is concentrating on a degree in psychology with a minor in chemistry and biology.

The medical field and being of service to others is at Bryan’s core. Growing up, he wore a torso brace for five years to help him with his scoliosis, a medical condition that causes abnormal curves of the spine or backbone. His early experiences have shaped his aspirations to one day become an orthopedic surgeon and help with preventative treatment of scoliosis.

One of the ways that Bryan is making strides towards his future is by serving as president of the Students Taking Initiative Through Collaboration in Honors (STITCH) at FIU. STITCH is a club for students who are enrolled in the pre-medical track at the university. Prior to becoming the president of this organization, Bryan participated in the Nicaragua Medical Brigade during his school’s alternative spring break. During this 9-day program, Bryan and eight of his peers provided dental and medical assistance to the poorest parts of Nicaragua.

Bryan attributes his passion to serve back to his experience with CHCI. In 2012, Bryan was one of four high school students from Miami, Florida from a cohort of 40 students from across the country who participated in R2L NextGen. He heard about the program on television through a CHCI public service announcement on Univision, and knew that this was a unique opportunity. After witnessing sponsors and members of congress give generously of their time during the program, Bryan felt inspired to give back.

Bryan says the program was “a phenomenal experience learning about the nation’s capitol and meeting like minded peers.” He added, “To be a part of a network of students who are like me, driven and also have big goals is inspiring and continues to be my favorite part of my R2L NextGen experience.” CHCI is proud to have Bryan as part of the CHCI Familia!