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Mayra Estrada – July 2014 Scholar of the Month

CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar

Hometown: Vale, Oregon

Degree: B.S., Chemistry

School: Boise State University

Through CHCI’s partnership with the United Health Foundation, Mayra Estrada, a 2013 CHCI-UHF Scholar Intern, has been given the opportunity to participate in CHCI’s Summer Congressional Internship Program. She is currently interning with the office of Sen. Ron Wyden. Mayra recently completed her UHF internship with Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS (A.L.P.H.A.), a community organization that provides education, public awareness, testing, and providing supportive services to infected and affected individuals.

I was born in Ontario, Oregon on August 10, 1992. I am the eldest of four children. I have three younger brothers. My parents moved here from Ixtapan de la sal, Mexico. I lived in Phoenix, Arizona until l was eight years old and then we moved to Vale, a small town in Oregon, and lived there until my high school graduation.

Even though I was born in the United States of America I started learning English until I was eight years old. Before that, all I knew was Spanish, so at first it was a struggle to make friends and accustom to the cultural difference. I noticed that all the other kids in my classes were more advanced than me, which made me feel ignorant and ultimately this feeling tested my character.

Was I going to let it get to me and throw in the towel or was I going to accept the challenge and try even harder than all the rest of the students? I chose the latter one. Soon I was known as one of the smartest students in class. I strived to do my best and people recognized my hard work. I’m the first one in my family to graduate from high school with honors and will be the first one to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. One of my biggest challenges that I have overcome is the lack of my father’s support; this personal obstacle pushes me to continue with my education.

My mother has type 1 diabetes and seeing her struggle with it is what has aspired me to be a doctor. I will go to medical school and one day be able to help Hispanics all around the world. I want to join Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and be committed to their mission of bringing quality medical care to people in crisis regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. I want to go to places like Colombia, Honduras, Japan, Pakistan, etc. to help the poor. I want to embrace their culture; I want to give back to the community. My leadership skills and knowledge have truly grown and I’m looking forward to all the future lessons that await me.