CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Thousands of students will receive their diplomas from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as the school celebrates the class of 2021 and their accomplishments.
The pandemic changed the school year for so many. For one graduate, the coronavirus put the spotlight on disparities in healthcare. As Andrea Badillo-Perez leaves Niner Nation she hopes to close the healthcare gaps.
“I’m hopeful amidst a tragedy that this has started a wave of awareness that I want to address in the future,” explained Badillo-Perez who applied to medical school.
Not one, but 10 medical schools made offers to Badillo-Perez.
“I told myself if I got into one medical school I would be proud,” said Badillo-Perez as she smiled over a Zoom call.
Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Penn, Duke, Virginia, Georgetown, UNC-Chapel Hill, Miami and NYU.
“I still wake up in the morning and I can’t believe it,” said Badillo-Perez.
She’s graduating from Charlotte with degrees in biology and psychology and a minor in public health.
The 22-year-old picked NYU. Thanks to a full ride, she will start in the fall.
“I think what drew me to medicine is a passion for service that drew me in at a young age,” added Badillo-Perez. The pandemic made it easier for her to interview virtually around the country.
While on campus the Levine scholar volunteered as a translator at low-income health clinics around the Queen City. She also co-founded Health Care Justice, a student organization that focuses on healthcare activism and service. Both are causes near and dear to the student.
The Puerto Rico native never imagined leaving the island. Thanks to a school counselor, she discovered UNCC. After a stop in Charlotte, she is off to the Big Apple to make a big difference.
“Sometimes service isn’t enough. Healthcare is a right and now it’s a privilege,” said Badillo-Perez.