An undocumented student from Santa Ana, California, has much to be proud of after learning she was accepted into Harvard Medical School.
Blanca Morales has faced a lot of her adversity in her journey to becoming a doctor. At the age of five, her family moved from Mexico to the United States. Since she was undocumented, Morales was ineligible for federal student loans during school. Morales told ABC7 News:
“Believing that I could eventually become a doctor, even though I didn’t know how it was going to happen.”
Morales graduated as valedictorian of her class from Santa Ana High School in Southern California. She went on to study at the University of California, Irvine where she also graduated with honors.
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Her undocumented status and lack of citizenship barred her from applying for jobs in the medical field. She worked at cosmetic company Mary Kay before joining a program called Health Scholars. Dr. Marco Angulo heads the program, which trains students to assist underserved communities. Angelo said:
“She epitomizes the Health Scholars program. She epitomizes the community and it’s so personal to her, you can tell.”
The young scholar persevered through much hardship and overcame the obstacles that stood in her way. Morales said:
“You struggle so much to get your degree, to go through your education, but what happens after that? How can you actually use your education?”
The undocumented student has since been extended an offer from Harvard Medical School as well as financial aid to cover the cost of her tuition. She is permitted to work and attend school thanks to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that makes her eligible for a renewable two-year work permit.
Morales and her husband are currently in the process of applying for her green card. The prospective medical student is moving to Boston this month. She plans to finish school and return to Santa Ana to serve. She said:
“[Santa Ana] Gave me so much in terms of education and encouragement and education and opportunities. I want to be able to return some of that.”