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Vivienne T. Meljen – August 2013 Scholar of the Month

CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar Intern

Hometown: Long Pond, PA

School: University of Scranton

Degree: B.S., Biology

I was born in New Jersey to Cuban immigrants. My story begins with my grandmother, Berta, living in a hut in Cuba. My parents and grandmother immigrated to the U.S. in order to search for a better life and build a family. They each made a lot of sacrifices to make sure that my younger sister, Chabeli, and I turned out like the young women we are today.

As a child, I attended a public-arts-integrated magnet school that gave me a well-rounded experience and has helped shape me into the independent woman I am today. During high school, I participated in a several programs such as, Summer@Brown, Partner’s In Science, and FEMME. I have also attended various leadership conferences including the Junior National Young Leaders Conference, Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, National Young Leaders State Conference NJ, NJ Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar, and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Conference.

I truly believe in nourishing the entire individual. As a child I participated in a dance studio and recitals that continued well into my high school years. I was also an active cheerleader and member of the drama club, forensics team, and science league; participating in many performances and competitions.

Upon my graduation as salutatorian of Union City High School, I decided to pursue an education in biology and Spanish at The University of Scranton, a Jesuit institution in Pennsylvania. During this time I’ve worked as a language and science tutor, as well as conducting research at a local medical school. My primary volunteer position has been as a medical interpreter at The Leahy Clinic for the Uninsured, a student-run clinic for residents of Lackawanna County who are currently uninsured. I have recently been appointed as the Committee-Head of Translators for the clinic, a position that allows me to train new volunteer interpreters and be an active member of the Student Advisory Board. I have also developed and compiled a text for a Medical Spanish workshop that I host biweekly for volunteers of any Spanish speaking background.

I will be completing my bachelor’s degree during my third year, in order to pursue an education in the field of medicine. I envision myself living in a rural area where I familiarize myself with each of my patients and become an integral part of the community. My goal is to continue serving areas such as these, in order to provide appropriate decent health care to people who are not able to afford it.

I intend to carry on the legacy of my parents and grandparents; as a hard worker, dedicated to improving my life and the lives of those around me, and always with a smile!