'My goals wouldn't be going in the same path' without my mentor

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I met my mentor, Jennifer Sanchez, at a conference for Latino students. I signed up to have a mentor starting in the summer of 2008. I chose her. Having a mentor is like having an older sister who helps you out with what you want to pursue later on in life, such as going to college and getting scholarships. Jenn has helped me in many things, such as volunteering and activities related to the medical career I plan to pursue.

Jenn has taken me to many places to volunteer, such as the Ronald McDonald House and Utah Food Bank. Every time I do volunteer service, it counts for hours toward a scholarship. It's very helpful when you have a mentor that can take you to places to volunteer because then both of you can give back to the community. When I volunteer, I feel like I am helping other people that need it more than I do.

Other than community service, I have attended several conferences for Latino students that Jenn has invited me to attend. I really enjoyed the event organized by the University of Utah Latino medical students. They motivated me, a Latina, to pursue my goal of becoming a registered nurse and, later, a doctor.

Just as volunteering is important, getting prepared for college is also important, and it takes help to get prepared. Jenn introduced me to Michiko Nakashima-Lizarazo, who works at Weber State University, the school I want to attend next year. I find it easier when you have someone to go to for any questions about higher education. Jenn has introduced me to many people who can help me. Jenn also set up an activity for me with her friend, Roberto Montenegro, a medical student at the U. We visited a cadaver lab, where he showed me the different parts of the body. It was so much fun, and I learned about how hard and competitive it is to get into medical school. But I can do it just as long as I work hard toward it.

Scholarships are very important for me. Jenn has been helpful enough to give me scholarship information. I believe my goals wouldn't be going in the same path as they are now without Jenn. She works hard, listens, serves as a leader and inspires me to work hard.

Mentors are a big help to students. I learned so much from my mentor, and I think a mentor-protégé program is very helpful in obtaining knowledge and being encouraged to go after your dream.