Photo of Lucero Amaral

Optimistic, Versatile, Ambitious

MCAT Prep Scholar, Hutto Patterson Fellow

I am a first-generation college student originally from a small, rural town in central California called Tipton. I came to Cal with not only my aspirations, but also with my, at the time, three-year-old daughter. Although it was tough, I am currently in my 4th year as an Integrative Biology major and Nutritional Science minor, with fully intact expectations of attending medical school.

Throughout my entire academic journey, I knew that I wanted to go to medical school and become a physician in order to provide medical intervention to those who typically go unnoticed. This dream is still intact, but after taking a few public health courses, I now also want to pursue a master’s in public health. I feel that a background in public health will help me better deliver care to various populations and enhance my cultural competence. Having socially conscious physicians will help narrow down the health disparities that currently exist, improving living conditions for those who are underserved.

Through the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) I have done research under visiting Assistant Professor Phuoc Le, M.D., Ph.D., DTM&H in the School of Public Health. The project, titled Best Practices for Replicating a Bay Area Model of Traditional Medicine Clinic, aims at deciphering the motivation behind opting for alternative methods of healing as well as developing a handbook for replicating successful, traditional healing clinics so these alternative methods become more available.

In 2016, I worked on a research project titled Perspectives on Segregated Care at Mount Sinai: How to Change the System that aims to highlight the discrepancies in the delivery of care and patient experience between privately and publicly insured individuals. The goal is to identify barriers that prevent integration in order to push for an integrated system where patients are seen by the same doctor, in the same space, at the same time, improving the experiences of underserved patients.

During the summer of 2016, I took an MCAT prep course through the Princeton Review and summer courses, and worked as a medical scribe.


“NERDS has provided the support, both emotional and financial, to flourish and bloom into the person I always knew I had the potential to be. The encouraging and compassionate environment that NERDS provides has instilled confidence to continue on my path to be a doctor. NERDS is a program that has helped facilitate my growth, both as a confident and professional individual. ”

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