Denver, CO

First-generation student at University of Denver shares her story

Mile High News

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DENVER, CO – The word “college” was just a random meaningless word for Mayerli Lopez-Hernandez when she was in an elementary school. She didn’t know the gravity of the word and it has no substantial meaning for her life.

Until in eight grade when she finally found out what the word means, she knew she wanted to go to college one day.

Growing up in an area full of gang members in Denver, Lopez-Hernandez is the first one in her family to attend university. None of her family member had formal education more than a middle school.

Today, Lopez-Hernandez is a second year student at University of Denver majoring in biological science and minoring in health science, leadership studies, chemistry, and Spanish.

One of the major reason why she is really interested in biology is because of her uncle who suffer from vascular dementia. She has strong desire to pursue career in neurosurgery.

Not only that, as a woman of color from Latinx community, she wants to create more improvement on how the medical system treats the patients, especially for people who have problem with language barrier.

She remembers how every time her family got sick, she is always be the one who interpret the conversation between the doctor and her family. From her experience, she does not want other families to experience the same struggle as her.

In University of Denver, Lopez-Hernandez is part of the 4D Experience Council where it helps her to explore more and improve her intellectual growth. With the inclusive value within the community, it really helps her grow and thrive.

She hopes that her story as a first-generation college student could inspire others with similar background as her to pursue higher education.

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