Giselle Hernandez’19

Helping my community through health and medicine has been a constant goal of mine, even as everything in my life changed around me growing up. When I was in the sixth grade, I completed a project about what I wanted to be when I grew up and drew myself in scrubs, holding a baby wrapped in a blanket, with words that read “baby doctor”. Over the years my dream of becoming a doctor evolved but has always been pressing. I grew up with a constant sense of uncertainty for my future. I was raised by a single, undocumented mother of four children that told me that I would be the one to help my family because I was smart and was going to get a good education. I later realized that my intelligence alone would not help my family, but rather that my community and I would work collectively towards my education. When I moved houses for the ninth time in my life during high school, my living situation finally stabilized. My mother became a legal resident which eliminated a lot of the fear we lived with, I got my first job, and joined programs that helped me apply to colleges. A year later I came to Bowdoin and found a community of peers, faculty, and staff that have helped me endlessly throughout my time here, including a community of pre-med peers who inspire me stay dedicated to my goal of becoming a doctor. It was through these peers that I found Project Healthcare.

I chose Project Healthcare at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City because it is one of the few opportunities for undergraduate students to learn in a hospital setting and spend time with patients. Bellevue Hospital is an extraordinary institution that is committed to giving underserved populations quality healthcare. This hospital is reputable for being innovative in medicine since its founding as the first public hospital in the United States and continues to enforce its mission of providing quality care to all, regardless of their ability to pay. In the summer of 2017 I did the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) in Pomona, California. Although this was a great opportunity to learn about different health professions and review science material necessary for the MCAT, it did not allow me to experience a clinical setting. Being a patient advocate for Project Healthcare in the emergency department of Bellevue Hospital will allow me to learn about what goes on in a hospital setting first hand. I will also become part of a community of peers who will support each other’s future careers in the medical field.

I am interested in becoming a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, but I am also interested in becoming a nurse midwife. This internship will help me further explore the diverse range of jobs that health professionals can have. It will also help me determine whether I do want to be a physician or nurse, or if I am interested in an entirely different career relating to public health. It will also help me strengthen my personal skills of comforting patients. Because Bellevue Hospital is so committed to public health, Project Healthcare will also help me meet health professionals in this field that are dedicated to giving back to their communities, which is what I hope to accomplish as a future physician and as someone who has benefitted immensely from the support of her community.