Lehman Today Online Magazine Lehman Today Spring 2016 - Page 30

alumni spotlight Cesar Andrade (B.S. ’14) A Dreamer and Activist, this Alumnus Earned $200,000 Scholarship to Go to Medical School Lehman College and Macaulay Honors College alumnus Cesar Andrade is about to begin what will certainly be four of the toughest but most rewarding years of his life. As an incoming student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Manhattan, the Lehman class of 2014 graduate wants to pursue a career as a primary care physician who works with underserved populations and conducts research addressing healthcare disparities. The annual tuition at Mt. Sinai is $46,388, but Andrade’s financial burden will be eased considerably thanks to approximately $200,00 in scholarship money that he will receive during the next four years. His school costs will be completely covered, giving him the extraordinary opportunity to graduate debt-free. The median medical student debt after graduation is $175,000 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Andrade, 23, will only be responsible for his living expenses. “Mt Sinai was my top choice,” he said. “It was a no-brainer for me because I wanted to stay close to New York and my family and they gave me such great financial aid and scholarships.” He will be receiving an $80,000 merit scholarship and a $120,000 needs-based grant based in part on his family’s income. As an undocumented student, obtaining scholarship money was of utmost importance, because he wasn’t eligible for federal government assistance. Fifteen years ago, when Andrade was just eight-yearsold, he moved with his family from Ecuador to Washington Heights. He entered Lehman as a freshman in 2010. Andrade is a member of a group called the “Pre-Health Dreamers,” a nonprofit national organization founded by two of his friends from California as a way to advocate for undocumented students wanting to attend medical school. In addition to an outstanding academic career at Lehman, Andrade was an athlete and an integral member of the men’s tennis and soccer teams. In 2011, he was part of a Lightning soccer squad that won its first CUNY championship. The experience as a student-athlete gave him the opportunity to learn how to successfully balance both complex biology labs and arduous practices. In 2015, a year after graduation, Andrade sought out the help of Alice Michelle Augustine, a Lehman adjunct professor in the English department and the associate director of the Emerging Scholars Program and Beyond the Bachelors Program. Augustine assisted Andrade with his medical school application, including his personal statement, essays, and scholarship applications. He credits her with significantly helping him to navigate the complex process. “I coached Cesar as he prepared his personal statements and helped him craft competitive applications,” said Augustine. “I loved working with him because whenever I gave him feedback on a draft, he would respond with changes and updates in a short time.” Cesar Andrade During his years at Lehman, Andrade revealed that he had several people he regarded as mentors who were influential in helping him achieve success in college and ultimately in attaining entry to medical school. He says that while conventional wisdom is for premed students to take biology and chemistry at the same time, Macaulay Honors Director Gary Schwartz advised him to spread the classes out between his freshman and sophomore years. “That was a huge relief,” he said about the counsel he received from Schwartz. “It was a hard adjustment coming from high school and I had no chemistry background. If you had asked me what an atom was, I really couldn’t tell you.” He recalls his biology department advisor Professor Maryam Bamshad as being supportive and later writing him a letter of recommendation for medical school. Andrade considers the three classes he took with Associate Professor Alyshia Gálvez as “really opening my eyes to the realities of the healthcare system.” He said Gálvez’s classes on health and migration in the department of Latin American, Latino, and Puerto Rican studies helped inspire wanting to explore not just the clinical, but “the social determinants of healthcare” such as nutrition and safety. He plans to take two months off before beginning medical school in August. He’ll also be moving into Mt. Sinai’s student housing and it will be the first time he’s lived away from his childhood home and his parents in Washington Heights. Andrade feels well prepared for what’s ahead. “Lehman was an incredible experience for me because it was so diverse,” he said . “There were so many people like me from all over the world.” In Memoriam: Professor Emerita Helen Patricia Thompson Thompson (right) with Prof. Bing Bills and a student in the 1990s; Thompson (above and left) in St. Petersburg, Russia at a ceremony celebrating the publication of her book and her father’s legacy. Lehman lost one of its most beloved professors when Helen Patricia Thompson passed away after a battle with cancer in April. The 89-year-old was a professor emerita and a renowned feminist scholar. Professor Thompson was a Lehman faculty member for nearly three decades. She joined the faculty while earning her doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University. For ten years, she taught in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies and for seventeen in Specialized Services in Education (now referred to as the Department of Counseling, Leadership, Literacy, and Special Education). A popular professor with students, Dr. Anne Rothstein, a long-time colleague, described Thompson “…as a professor who always demanded the best from her students. She believed in Lehman students, sometimes more than they believed in themselves, and pushed them.” Thompson was also well respected outside of the classroom. 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