Meet the 2017 FACES for the Future Scholarship Recipients
June 20, 2017 | Read the original announcement on the FACES site.
PHI's FACES for the Future (FACES) delivers the highly successful FACES program model to communities seeking to prepare high school students for entry into the health professions by developing their own pipeline programs. FACES incorporates best practices in adolescent medicine, innovative pedagogy,and community engagement. Taken together, the model addresses the diverse needs of young people interested in healthcare careers, and prepares students to meet the challenges of impending health workforce shortages and worsening health disparities.
Since its establishment in 2000, FACES has served over 1,800 students all over California and is working on expanding nationally. We have some of the most diverse, resilient and passionate group of students, coming from an array of backgrounds and challenges. Learn more about the FACES scholarship programs, and meet the 2017 scholarship recipients:
This year, the FACES community has experienced the loss of two beautiful souls. In their honors, each scholarship will commemorate each of their passions.
Loan Maas Memorial Scholarship
Loan Maas was a friend and a colleague. She was the Director of Early College at the Office of College and Career Readiness in the Denver Public School system and was helping us establish a new FACES program in Denver, CO. She was a major advocate for student equity. Her mission was working with minority students to achieve scholarships to further their college degree, providing them with the opportunities that she never had. We want to honor Loan and her tireless efforts in helping students achieve their highest dreams by supporting a FACES health scholar interested in pursuing a clinical career.
Elisabet Herrera Memorial Scholarship
Elisabet Herrera was a student in our Behavioral Health Undergraduate Summit in Summer, 2016. She was a passionate young woman pursuing a career in behavioral and mental health. Her mission was in helping others. Her friends knew her to be unique, sweet, responsible, professional and always willing to help anyone in need. We want to honor Elisabet by supporting a student just like herself, who is also dedicated to achieving a career in behavioral and mental health care.
2017 Scholarship Recipients
Elizabeth Fuentes, FACES Hayward, CA
Loan Maas Memorial Scholarship
Starting Fall 2017: Dominican University of California, Major: Biology/Pre-med
“My parents were both born and raised in Mexico. I’m the youngest sibling and the only one who was born and raised in the U.S. Coming from a Latin household can place extra weight on my shoulders since my parents’ ideologies are extremely different from my own. My father and I always argue over anything and everything. He didn’t believe that I could do anything with my life and reminded me of how I was “nothing” every day. I tried so hard to make my father proud but nothing I ever did was enough for him. I fell into a deep depression during junior high school and stopped talking to everyone. I couldn’t sleep and I stopped eating and just felt like my life didn’t have a purpose. It was an extremely painful time in my life but thanks to my sister and mom, I was able to overcome and fight the darkness.
Throughout my four years in high school, I witnessed first hand, family members battling life-threatening diseases. I began to educate myself more about healthcare and its different aspects. I decided to sign up for Medical Careers (pathway) and was placed in Eden Area Regional Occupation Program and eventually, became a part of FACES for the Future.
I decided to do as much as I possibly could to learn about the medical field. The more I began to learn, the more I loved the field. After my first rotation in the hospital, I realized that I wanted to become a doctor. I want to travel to third world countries and provide aid to underserved populations. I know firsthand, how difficult it is to access healthcare since I come from both an immigrant and low-income family. I want to be the aid for those poor families. I want to give back to my community since I’ve received so many opportunities from community-based organizations. Thanks to the strong and endless support I received from my community, my dreams to become a doctor are slowly advancing. I will continue to persevere through all the hardships like I have until now because I’m not willing to give up on my dreams, not after I’ve already come this far.”
Nhi Duong, FACES San Diego, CA
Elisabet Herrera Memorial Scholarship
Starting Fall 2017: University of California, Los Angeles, Major: Psychology
“When I was two, my family immigrated to America in hopes of providing educational opportunities for my brother and me. Once they arrived, my parents struggled to provide us with the basic necessities. While my mom worked day and night, my dad often stayed home because work was difficult to find. Because of this, my parents worked whenever they could, scrambling to earn enough money to get through the month. As for me, I spent my childhood complaining and pitying myself rather than considering my parents’ struggles.
When I entered high school, I decided to expose myself to the world I wanted to experience. I decided to join a club called Peer Helping. I was given many opportunities to learn how to support people struggling with depression, bullying, poverty, and drugs. As a sophomore, I was elected president of Peer Helping, a position I continue to hold today. I had never organized events or led such a big group. I immediately realized the many responsibilities that came with a nice title as things went wrong. Fortunately, I figured out the core of my problems. My communication with the club members was terrible. I tried my best to support and understand the people who needed help, but I did not consider the battles the members were fighting in their personal lives. After debriefing the event, I made changes to ensure all the necessary materials. However, more importantly, I also got to know each member, changed the way I communicated with them and worked to ensure their comfort in order for them to work to their best abilities.
As I continued to volunteer, not only did I continue to grow as an individual, but I learned more and more about the struggles that people face every day in their lives. Although these people do have it tough as they face bullying, poverty, depression, drugs, and so much more, I started to contemplate on how difficult it would be to manage these struggles while having a disability and the numerous opportunities that would be missed due to the disabilities. Because I strongly believe that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to experience anything he or she would like, I decided to become an occupational therapist in order to provide the help that could open more opportunities and mitigate the struggles for those with disabilities rather than allowing a disability to prevent them from living the life they want. I am going to study psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and attend graduate school for occupational therapy later on. After I have a master’s degree in occupational therapy, I want to become licensed and certified as an occupational therapist. From there, I want to begin working with young children or senior citizens and help lessen the struggles they have to face every day. I plan to give back to my community and other communities like my own by providing free occupational therapy services and making donations to organizations dedicated to helping refugee and immigrant families.”
Learn more about FACES for the Future by browsing the "I am the Future" campaign, an on-going online campaign that showcases the many faces and voices of FACES students. We want to give them a chance to show the world their stories, their motivations and why they are the future faces in health care. See now.