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'I can do this!' Caroline Raymundo knew she wanted to be a physician. But it wasn't until she first walked into the University of washington's Instructional Center that she realized that she could do it.

"At the Instructional Center, I was meeting students like me. Students who grew up in immigrant families with similar backgrounds," she says. "They were incredibly smart. They got really good grades, and they were passionate about being in college."

"I could see myself in those people. I was interested in medicine, but I wanted be able to challenge myself. I saw students challenging themselves. And I thought, 'I can do this.'"

MAKING THE DIFFERENCE IN STUDENT SUCCESS

The University of Washington is committed to ensuring that each student is successful once they arrive on campus. Economically disadvantaged, first-generation and underrepresented students face some of the most significant barriers to earning their degrees.
Housed in the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D), the Instructional Center (IC) serves to ensure the academic success of students affiliated with OMA&D programs. For more than 40 years, the IC has provided a unique and proven blend of services to create a sense of community and pave the way to the University’s most competitive majors, and, ultimately, graduation and successful careers.

A graduate of Franklin High School in Seattle's South End, Caroline studied premed at the UW on the Husky Promise, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in spring 2017. She was introduced to the Instructional Center through the Educational Opportunity Program (also an integral part of OMA&D) that promotes academic success among underrepresented minority, low-income and first-generation college students. At the IC, students can participate in study sessions and lab writing workshops, as well as access one-to-one tutoring.

Once classes started, Caroline was too intimidated to go to IC by herself, even though she needed help with calculus. Her high school friend Gizelle Gando, also a UW student, took Caroline to the IC.

"I basically lived there after that," Caroline says.

Just as the IC helped Caroline excel inside the classroom, the Husky Promise ensured she succeeded out of the classroom, as well.

Because of the Husky Promise, Caroline could afford to live on campus. "And living on campus meant I could go to the library whenever I wanted, for as long as I wanted. My day included class, tutoring, working in the lab at Fred Hutch, volunteering at hospital."

She participated in the Filipino Student Association, as well as pre-med club activities. "If I lived at home, I wouldn't have been able to do all of those things. I wouldn't be nearly as good of a candidate for med school."

'It was important to have all these things around me - science or medicine research opportunities.'

One of the toughest steps in pursuing her dream of medical school was telling her mom that she wanted to be a doctor. Her mother had other dreams for her daughter.

“I said to my mom, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be a good nurse. I think being a doctor is a better fit for me.’ She was saying when we moved here from the Philippines it took a lot of work, and she worried that medical school would take so much more time and expense than becoming a nurse.”

Caroline understood her mother's position. "It's hard because you come here with so much uncertainty, and you want your child's future to be secure, especially when you've spent so much of your own life insecure, wondering where am I going to live, when will I next see my family."

Caroline responded: "Because you moved here, moved across the ocean to come here, don't you want me to take all the opportunities we have here?"

These days, Caroline is preparing for medical school entrance exams and planning to apply to medical schools on the East and West Coasts. But her hope is that she'll be admitted to the UW.

"In the end, I think the most important thing is being a doctor," she says, "and how I get there isn't as important as being a doctor."

WHAT'S AHEAD

To serve the current student demand and position the University to meet the surging demographic growth of low-income, underrepresented minority and first-generation students in the state of Washington, we have set an ambitious goal to increase the number of students we can serve each year from 2,000 to 7,000 by 2020. To accomplish this, we have an endowment goal of $25 million.

Find out how you can help. Give Now.

Through intentional support for student success, internship opportunities, leadership programming, and an undaunted commitment to diversity and community, the Husky Experience is preparing UW students to emerge with the skills and determination to change the world. From urban planning to the arts, health care to computer engineering, a UW education transcends the classroom. It’s dynamic, interdisciplinary and hands-on, and is built on frustrating failures and exhilarating successes. Just like in the workplace. Just like in life.

These units support the Husky Experience for all students:

Student Life / Undergraduate Academic Affairs / Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity Graduate School / Enrollment Management

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