Rosalina Penaloza – LatPro Scholarship Finalist for April 2012

How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?

Rosalina 3My childhood memories are many and although I remember it being very lonely because my father was always working and hardly ever home, I remember it being very happy. It’s the innocence that comes with being a child that was able to mask all the negative thoughts and sadness that surrounded me. As I grew, I began to realize that my reality was different. People suffered from job scarcity, lack of money, and the inability to attain good quality health.

I come from a family of nine and therefore, money has always been an issue. Growing up my father worked two shifts everyday to support me and my brothers. A couple years ago, our family struggled to keep the house, but nothing will compare to the struggle my family faced coping with the loss of a loved family member. Despite, the lack of money and the harsh reality that we were living, my father did not want us to work, instead he wanted us to get an education and better ourselves so that we could then help the community that nourished us when we were growing up. Four of us are currently in college and on our way to pursuing our dreams. It has not been easy living away from home and being the first in the family to go to college. But I have always had the support of my parents and that has made this journey a smoother one.

Denis Diderot, believed that “only great passions can elevate the soul to great things”. Many things in life can uplift the human body: money, pleasure, power, etc. but to lift the soul, requires a more intimate motivation. Passions, and only great passions, can make people act in ways never before seen, it can make people believe in the “impossible” and can serve to inspire others. Although I did not come from a professional background, I was motivated and inspired by my passion for medicine and my passion for the well being of my community, to earn an education and to become a strong advocate of health for underserved communities.

Over history, minorities and the poor have been disproportionately affected by a large number of developmental diseases, chronic diseases, and birth defects. Growing up, it was very difficult to see how families struggled to cope with a child who was immuno- deficient or to see how the STD statistics were rising for African Americans. By thinking about these things and actually “living” this reality, I learned to understand the needs of my community. I learned that our current health system is inaccessible to the needs of minority groups. Financial, physical, geographical, and temporal barriers are currently omnipresent. Although they have been addressed by many health care advocates, an action plan needs to be executed by people who understand the struggles of the Latino community.

Having been part of the Ujima project, Planned Parenthood I was certain that a public health major would help me achieve my dreams of reaching out to communities with information and services that would enable them to cultivate healthier lives and that would help erase the health disparities in this nation. One of my duties as peer-advocate involved speaking to people about human sexuality and birth control. Through our health fairs, skits, and healthy love parties we helped educate our communities about human anatomy, prevention, planning, and free health services. The “I know campaign” made our efforts extend to the entire state.

Although I have struggled financially and have seen how inaccessible our current health care system can be I am confident that change is possible and that I am capable of contributing to that change. Studies have shown that the lack of cultural diversity in the health workforce limits the scope of health care agenda and reduces the efficiency of our health system. To deliver care effectively, providers need to have a firm understanding of the needs, the language, beliefs, and cultural practices of their patients. A clear solution to this problem is increasing the pool of minority health providers. As an advocate of preventative medicine and a strong supporter of affordable quality health care I am motivated to learn the most that I can to help make a healthier and more productive minority population. As a health care provider, I will work hard to increase awareness of preventable diseases. I will serve the under served and will work to erase barriers to achieving good quality health.’s scholarship program for Hispanic students is proud to announce Rosalina Penaloza as one of the three finalists for its April deadline application. Vote for her essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

LatPro Admin


Protected with IP Blacklist CloudIP Blacklist Cloud

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Rosalina, you are definitely a motivation to others to continue pursuing their dreams despite the barriers that may make it seem impossible. Continue your hard work and good luck on your future endevors.

  • Rosie, you said everything perfectly; I know the passion and desire you have to help underserved communities as well as all the hard work you have done putting your words into action. I know you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the walk. Can’t wait to see what you acomplish in the future for the underserved.

  • Rosalina, great essay! You sure bring hope and inspiration to those who think it is impossible!!

  • Your story is very inspiring, you are a role model to all that cross your path. You deserve to win this scholarship and I wish only for the best in your academic endeavours. 

  • ive Sean how u have surpassed all your struggles and never given up no matter what it is. continue what your doing because its leading u to great heights 

  • Congratulations! It’s nice to know people are still willing
    to give back/help the community! Good luck with all your goals!

  • Congrats on being a finalist Rosy! Your story is truly heartwarming and inspiring – we need more people like you who sincerely care about the community and who strive to achieve their goals! Best of luck!

  • Rosie, you are truly the most hard working and caring individual. Despite the struggles you have overcome them and are more than willing to give back to the community. You are a great role model for everyone. Keep up the amazing work, I know that with your passion and dedication you will accomplish great things in life. 

  • Rosie, I wish you the best in winning this scholarship! You’ve been a great role model for me 🙂 Thanks for helping me out whenever you can!

  • Rosie, I truly wish you the best. I can relate to your story and I therefore know and understand the struggles that you go through everyday but others are unaware of. Good luck!

  • Great essay Rosalina! It’s been nothing short of a pleasure working with you, and your motivation for medicine is transparent in your work ethic! 

  • Amazing. Everyday we struggle, I say we because I know your struggle, I have also lived it. Keep pushing forward and bring hope to the rest of us that we too can succeed.

  • I completely share your opinion and beliefs, its hard to share with outsiders of our Hispanic culture to make them understand how we see & live the lack of support for elite healthcare-if not directly, but someone in our family. I was also the first in my family to attend college and I can share the struggles You went through to get where You’re at. Very admirable goals and with your enthusiasm and optimistic attitude I’m confident You’ll achieve them. I wish You the best of luck! Yuliana Valadez

  • I hope you win, but whether you get the scholarship or not, it seems your passion will drive you far! i hope you accomplish your goals in life! and i hope we all live to witness you become a strong advocate in our community! never forget your dreams! 

  • What an amazing essay to read! I may not be in the same field you are studying but what I can say is that I have seen your struggles and the ones your family faces. It is very true that we need someone with the strength and courage you have to keep fighting to achieve your goals. I know it has been and still  is hard but just know God is in control and there are people who are praying so you keep doing and reaching for your goals. Hope with all my heart you get the scholarship.

  • Best of luck! Thank you for being one of the few people trying to raise awareness of the difficulties that minority groups face. This was a very inspiring essay.

  • I totally understand where you’re coming from and I am so happy to see you pull through all of your struggles. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to make it through UCB and I am glad through it all, you have found a deeper meaning, a passion to guide you. I wish you the best of luck and hope to read your name in the newspaper one day.

  • I am really glad and proud you want to help our communities and you are passionate to make the current health care system accessible to people of color. I believe in you, never give up!

  • Really great to read about someone whom is so passionate about making a difference for others who come from a similar background Such as her own. Reading this, made this very clear. This person is driven and motivate/passionate about her field of study!

  • This was very powerful! You were able to encompass the struggles that I have also experienced. I admire your hardwork and keep striving towards your goals!  Si se puede mujer

  • I’m striving to become a women’s health advocate! If we all work together on this, we will see big changes in our communities!! 

  • I’m glad that you are still working towards the medical field. I know you will go far and do great things. You definitely deserve this scholarship and I hope that the committee can also see that you deserve this scholarship. 

  • Awsome! Didnt expect anything less from a student like you Rosy! Very philosophical and sophisticated. Looks like you got your stuff straighten out. Good luck.

  • An inspirational story and great example for other Latino/a students to follow. Wishing you the best in your endeavors. 

  • Rosy, you are a true inspiration! I wish you the best in your academic endeavors and hope you win this scholarship because you deserve it and so much more! 

  • Rosy, im really proud of how far you have come in life! Your an amazing individual who has always given back to your community! I know how hard you have worked to be where you are now and you are truly an inspiring individual! 

  • Very inspiring….. Made me tear up a bit as I was reading. We need more advocates like you who are to gain knowledge from their childhood experiences and use that to better their communities. Good luck! Hope you receive this scholarship, you definitely deserve it! You are going to do great things for our people.

  • Girl you know how much we all admire you but specially I can say that personally I admire you. As one year my senior I always look up to you and it pushes me to keep going in Cal. It was so hard my first year but seeing you and your achievements make me want to push my limits too. <3 Good luck!

  • Rosalina, I have no doubt that you will contribute to such an inspirational goal. I wish you the best in your endeavors. May your zeal for such a cause help you achieve your desired destination.