Name: Perla Corredor

Age: 23

Major: Health sciences

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

UCSC college: Kresge

Favorite class or professor and why?

Human Physiology with Linda Ogren. I was pushed to the edge and challenged academically like no other class had done for me, but overall I learned more in those 10 weeks than in any other class.

Most memorable experience at UCSC?

My most memorable experience was the day that, to my surprise, I found out about and met all the other Colombians at UCSC and ended up having ajiaco--a Colombian potato soup and a specialty of Bogota--with them at the Women's Center.

Favorite spot on campus and why?

I love walking through the Kresge Bridge, love the view of the redwood trees above me and below me.

How has UCSC shaped you?

Through my growth at UCSC I learned the importance of working for your community and the power of organizing. I have met many individuals who challenged my experiences and shared their experiences with me and through which many times a completely different perspective and world opened to me.

What are your future plans?

For now my plan is to go back to Colombia for a couple of years and work on a mental health project for children who have been displaced by the war.

How did you choose your college, and how has your college affected your education?

Kresge gave me my first opportunity to get involved with the UCSC community through Kresge Parliament and by being a Kresge representative at the Student Union Assembly (SUA). Through both of these a much larger UCSC community opened up to me.

Accomplishments:

Through my years at UCSC I have been involved in a number of organizations from SUA, Kresge Parliament, CHE (Chicanos/Latina/os in Health Education), and the Colombian Research Cluster. I was also a Special Olympics coach and director for four years at UCSC.

Along with my on-campus participation, my experiences abroad in Costa Rica doing a conservation project, in Southern India doing a veterinary internship, and studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, all have inspired me but mostly made me realize how globally privileged I am (we are!). Collectively these experiences have given me the perspective of different health issues and needs outside of the U.S. and allowed me to develop a strong public health commitment.

Summer and fall 2008 I was involved with the Health Services Agency of Santa Cruz County working on the Promoting Health Equities Committee, focusing on addressing the health and socioeconomic disparities in the county and encouraging organizations, government, and community members to start a dialogue and build community action around these issues in the county.

My overall goal is to end up working around health policy for displaced populations and refugees. I am considering a combined M.D. and M.P.H., but I need to take some time to make sure that is the route I want to embark on.

As a first-generation immigrant, who came to the U.S. from Colombia when I was 13 years old, I include my graduation from the university as a big accomplishment.