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Aspiring doctor Gabriela Lopez '15 wins Whitney M. Young Jr. Scholarship

Gabriela Lopez '15 at the 2011 Whitney M. Young Jr. Scholarship reception. Photo by Kevin Coles.
Gabriela Lopez '15 at the 2011 Whitney M. Young Jr. Scholarship reception. Photo by Kevin Coles.

Incoming Connecticut College freshman Gabriela Lopez, an aspiring doctor, has been named a Whitney M. Young Jr. Scholar by the New York Urban League. The Whitney M. Young Jr. Memorial Scholarship honors a civil rights activist and former executive of the National Urban League and is open to college-bound New York City high school graduates from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.A scholarship candidate must also be "a person who demonstrates strong potential for academic achievement and of excellent character and proven leadership ability, with a demonstrated commitment to community service and extra-curricular activities."

In addition to submitting her transcript and two letters of recommendation, Lopez answered the essay question, "How will your education help you leave a positive and lasting impact on your community?" Lopez wrote about how, after visiting a medical school last August, she knew that she wanted to be a doctor. "I live in the Bronx, so I primarily want to help people in that community," she said. "But my family is from the Dominican Republic, and when I visited that country, I saw firsthand the lack of access to quality health care, especially for people with mental disabilities. Eventually, I want to help people on a global scale."

At Connecticut College, Lopez intends to study neuroscience. "I originally wanted to study psychology, but when I started taking AP science classes, I fell in love with the 'actual science' side," Lopez said. This summer, the DeWitt Clinton High School graduate is interning at Montefiore Medical Center. Her daily schedule includes shadowing doctors and attending medical school classes, and she has written a research paper and created a PowerPoint presentation on bipolar disorder. "The program has helped me become even more sure of what I want to do," Lopez said. - By Tom Owen

August 22, 2011