SFSU APP 2021 Cohort

Manuel Luna-Medel 

Hi, my name is Manuel Luna-Medel. I’m a first generation student born and raised in San Jose, California. I'm a senior studying at San Francisco State University, majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology.  I currently work part-time as an EMT in Santa Clara County, and I volunteer at Nami Santa Clara and Clinica Martin Baro in San Francisco as a Patient Advocate. Being the oldest son, I got to witness and experience disparities my single mom went through first hand, such as language barriers, lack of cultural competency, and more. Watching the impact these disparities had on my family and community serves as a motivating factor for pursuing a career in medicine. My personal experiences with medicine and mental health, fuel my passion to become a physician that helps my Latinx and Bay Area communities by breaking down language barriers and providing proper healthcare to improve my community’s health outcome. 

Jorge Inojoza Garcia Alberto 

My name is Jorge Inojoza Garcia Alberto. I am a first generation college student pursuing a B.S in Biology with a concentration in Physiology at San Francisco state University. I am also a member of the Riggs lab on campus where I am studying the Jagn Protein and its role in cell fate determination.  I have a strong drive to pursue a career in medicine as a Neonatal Specialist. This is because I was born a 6-month-old preemie and would not be alive today if it weren’t for talented doctors and medical advancements. I have strong leadership and communication skills that I wish to hone even further to be the best physician I can for my deserving community. I believe the goodness in life belongs to those who believe, so each day I wake up believing that my dreams of becoming a physician will come to fruition. 

Jessica Yepez 

My name is Jessica Yepez, I am from San Rafael, CA. I am currently a Senior at San Francisco State University. My major is Biology with a Concentration in Physiology. I want to be a physician to help address health disparities that continue to exist within the health care system. I want to diminish language and cultural barriers that affect the quality of health care that a patient receives. I am perseverant, disciplined, patient, observant, and open-minded. I often volunteer as a teacher assistant with 3rd graders. I aspire to become a pediatrician. I love volunteering with kids they are very sincere and fun to be around and I always enjoy working with them. 

Irene Arias 

My name is Irene Arias, I am originally from Costarica and currently live in Santa Clara. I am a third year physiology student at San Francisco State University. I want to be a physician because I want to make a difference in my community by helping those who need it the most. I want to provide better health care services to those with low resources. I want to advocate for young Latinx people thinking about a career in medicine because we are capable of creating and making change that one day will benefit everyone. I have personally been on the receiving end of being told that I would not be successful in my pursuit of medicine because of my gender and background. Rather than letting this deter me, I have used these experiences as fuel to persist and be a role model for those coming up behind me. 

 ​Karina Rodriguez 

My name is Karina Rodriguez and I am a 3rd year Biology/Physiology major at San Francisco State University. I am originally from Madera, CA. My interest in medicine stems from the rich diversity I have seen in the range of specialties that exist and the range of problems that these specialties address. It is my goal to become a practicing physician in my underserved hometown of Central Valley and help break down the barriers to access and quality care for patients. As of now I am giving back to my community by volunteering at my local high school assisting students, parents, staff, and I currently work at my community hospital making one small difference at a time.

Jackelyn Hernandez 

Jackelyn Hernandez is a rising Senior at San Francisco State University. She was born and raised in the East Bay and plans to graduate with a major in Biology, concentration in Physiology, and a minor in Race and Resistance Studies. Jackelyn’s passion towards medicine stems from her own family’s struggle to obtain quality and affordable healthcare. The structural barriers that have caused a lack of representation from underserved communities in medicine are important to her and she strives to be a catalyst of change in dismantling those systems. 

Jackelyn works with children and school directors to provide resources and encourage students and parents to seek mental health attention as a form of preventative measure for the child’s overall long term health. She hopes to continue to be an advocate for her community throughout her journey through medical school and ultimately, upon graduation, be the doctor underrepresented communities need most. 

A’lexus Taylor 

My name is A’lexus Taylor and I am from South Central, Los Angeles. I am a first- generation college student and a rising senior majoring in Biology with a Concentration in Physiology at SF State. My experiences with the healthcare system as a black woman living in poverty has motivated me to become a health care professional and an advocate for those living in disadvantaged communities everywhere. I hope to use my knowledge and privileges as a future doctor to bridge the healthcare system and these underprivileged communities by doing whatever I can do to dismantle health disparities, discrimination, and socio-economic determinants that are affecting all people of color. 

Jose Valentin Ordonez 

Jose Valentin Ordonez is from Novato, a suburb on the outskirts of San Francisco California. He attended high school in Mexico and his senior year at Novato High.  He is currently a 4th year student at San Francisco State University where he is majoring in Biology with a concentration in Physiology. Jose’s passion to pursue a career in medicine stems from his adolescence and his experiences with bullying due to severe acne. After encountering a dermatologist that helped him, he was inspired to become a physician to help those in underrepresented communities who suffer with skin disorders just like he did. Jose is bilingual, loves to hike whenever he can and enjoys affogatos with ground cinnamon at any time of the day.

Sydney Miller 

Sydney Miller is a third year student at San Francisco State University, pursuing her Bachelor's in Biology with a concentration in Physiology. Sydney is from Pacific Grove, California. She hopes to combine her love for learning and science by pursuing a career in medicine as an obstetrician/gynecologist. Her decision to pursue a career in medicine is rooted in her passion for women's health and her intention to reclaim a profession, paying homage to the many unnamed black women whose lives were taken in the name of medical advancement. She aspires to serve underserved communities and start a foundation that champions women's health.

Kierra Smith 

Kierra Smith is a first-generation college student at San Francisco State University, majoring in biology, with a concentration in physiology. She was born in Indiana, but grew up in Hawaii and the Bay Area most of her life. She is very passionate about basic science research and is currently in a microbiology lab that focuses on the biology behind a specific strain of salmonella. Her inspiration to pursue a career in medicine came from the health disparities she witnessed as a child and now aspires to become a doctor that has the skills to listen and be culturally aware of the diverse global population. Maternal fetal medicine has a special place in her heart, but she is interested in so many specialties, especially ones that are heavily involved in rural medicine.