“I’m a first-generation student, so it was a path none of my family was familiar with.”
But a group from her school visited MSU for an event. That day, she saw new possibilities.
“It was the first time I actually stepped onto a four-year public university campus. College seemed pretty cool. Later, I met with a lot of advisors, and they were pushing me to go to a four-year university. MSU just had that feeling of home.”
Becoming a medical scholar
Now, she’s not only at home on campus, she is excelling.
In 2017, she was one of only 10 students selected nationwide for Health Professions Advanced Summer Scholars (Health P.A.S.S.), a program held at Des Moines University in Iowa.
“I feel like I have a voice in the community, especially for first-generation students who don’t think they can do the honors program. If you can be a part of Honors College, do it!”
Health P.A.S.S. gives students a preview of what it’s like to be in medical school.
Alvarado shadowed medical students, practiced diagnosing patients, learned to suture and made a cast. At the end of the program, she won the Outstanding Health P.A.S.S. Student of the Year award and confirmed her plans to work in health care.
“My goal is to have a specialty in surgery. I’m looking at being a trauma surgeon and/or OB-GYN.”
The cell and molecular biology major is also looking into the Peace Corps after she graduates.
“I’ve volunteered at a hospital in Joplin, Missouri, for the past two summers, putting in more than 200 hours, so I want to take that experience and explore it with the Peace Corps.”
Finding activities and mentors
Did we mention she’s involved on campus? Alvarado is active in a huge list of student activities.
- Ozarks Amateur Astronomers Club
- TRIO (programs that help students overcome social and cultural barriers to higher education)
- Cellular and Molecular Biology Society
- Pre-Medical Society
- Career Enhancement Scholars
- Phi Eta Sigma honor society
- National Society of Collegiate Scholars
She’s also a resident assistant in Wells House. She loves playing volleyball and basketball at the Foster Recreation Center and gardening (including growing a flower in her room).
“I’ve gained a sense of community engagement here. I feel like I’m not as shy as I used to be. MSU has really helped me blossom a lot.”