From a younger age, Valeria Robayo has taken the lead in her personal schooling. At age 3, her household moved from Bogotá, Colombia, to Houston, Texas, to hunt higher alternatives for Robayo, and later, her sister. She spent summer time days on the native library whereas her dad and mom labored to help the household. Her dad and mom, who had been academics, inspired her to make her personal lesson plans and examine what was fascinating to her.
“A number of the books that attracted me essentially the most within the library had been the anatomy textbooks,” says Robayo. “At the moment, my dad was laying aside an elective knee surgical procedure, having to endure important ache as we couldn’t afford the medical payments. There was part of me that needed to see what was happening together with his knee, so I’d take a look at the anatomy of that.”
That have sparked an curiosity in medication, and Robayo describes it as her “first step in a really lengthy journey.” In highschool, Robayo took a category the place she had the chance to shadow greater than 40 completely different departments at her native hospital.
“Again then I used to be nonetheless narrowing down my profession pursuits,” says Robayo. “I used to be actually taken with medication as a result of it employs science to serve others. I additionally realized that medication is a system and never only a patient-doctor interplay. Pursuing medication as a profession would enable me to mix my pursuits in science and in addition present a service to my group.”
The people-centered facet of drugs informs Robayo’s selection of examine at MIT, the place she majors in administration with a minor in biology and German. To some, her main may come as a shock for somebody within the midst of making use of to medical faculty, however Robayo sees issues otherwise.
“I needed to pursue one thing that might enable me to get a sensible perspective whereas strengthening my scientific foundations earlier than going to medical faculty. I actually needed a university with a enterprise or administration undergraduate main,” says Robayo, noting that the MIT Sloan College of Administration was an enormous think about her school determination. “I needed someplace the place analysis was actually supported and the place the tradition of scholars was actually artistic. MIT has the right mixture of that.”
Robayo has adopted via on her want for a well-rounded perspective all through her time at MIT. She has pursued moist lab analysis via the Undergraduate Analysis Alternatives Program, and analysis in shared decision-making at Massachusetts Common Hospital, honing each her technical and folks abilities. She has additionally interned with the U.S. Authorities Accountability Workplace via the MIT Washington summer internship program, contributing to an audit of the Veteran’s Well being Administration and gaining an understanding of how coverage impacts medication within the U.S.
Her most bold challenge thus far is Useful resource Hub, a nonprofit she based in the summertime of 2021. Drawing from her personal experiences, and motivated by the challenges introduced on by the Covid-19 pandemic, Useful resource Hub is a free on-line service that matches underserved group members with native companies accessible to them.
“I needed to construct a challenge that mixed my pursuits in administration and medication as a result of I really like studying experientially,” says Robayo. “It was impressed by each my private expertise rising up as an immigrant within the U.S. and struggling to seek out instructional assets, and in addition from my shadowing experiences and realizing that a variety of sufferers had been coming in with very severe sicknesses that might have been prevented had they sought care and brought benefit of a variety of the assets accessible that they only didn’t find out about as a result of they had been so busy, or due to language difficulties.”
Studying language to open doorways
Though she knew from the start what her main can be, Robayo wasn’t sure about minoring in German till after she arrived at MIT. She had began studying the language in highschool, selecting it as a result of she foresaw potential profession alternatives in Germany.
“There have been many causes for studying German,” Robayo says. “I converse Spanish and English and I needed to be taught a brand new language. I needed it to assist me additional my profession and in addition study a tradition that I used to be taken with, and I seen there have been a variety of alternatives in Germany associated to medication, medical gadgets, issues like that. I feel it might simply open a variety of doorways for me.”
At first, Robayo was motivated to take German at MIT to meet the language requirement for MISTI, however she discovered herself loving the instructing employees and the fashion of the courses. Although her MISTI journey alternative, scheduled for the summer time of 2020, was finally canceled, Robayo has continued to check the language and tradition, and was lately awarded a round-trip flight to Germany after successful first place within the MIT German Research Excellence Award.
“Studying a language is a strategy to present respect for the tradition that you just’re working with,” says Robayo. “I’ve been in a position to meet a variety of nice instructors and folks all through various things that I’ve completed.”
Past taking a wide range of courses within the World Languages program, Robayo additionally based the German Language Learners Membership and has participated within the German American Convention at Harvard College. Within the latter, she’s organized panels on synthetic intelligence in medication and mental property rights, and served because the group’s Variety Officer.
Wanting forward, Robayo is within the midst of making use of to medical faculty, the place she hopes to check to turn into a surgeon.
“I wish to be certain I’ve an open thoughts,” says Robayo. When requested about her future plans, she speaks in broad strokes to suit the breadth of her ambitions.
“Positively a job the place I’m within the OR so much, the place I’m a health care provider, a researcher, and a instructor, the place I’m in a position to construct relationships with individuals and work in groups to achieve new ranges of innovation, effectivity, and high quality in well being care. A profession the place I’m serving individuals each inside and out of doors of the clinic.
“Drugs is the examine of individuals, each by way of the human physique and by way of the relationships that you just get to kind with them. I’m simply excited to take these subsequent steps.”