Juan Baltierrez

Juan Baltierrez

Name: Juan Baltierrez
Age: 19
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Brownsville 

I decided to choose UTRGV as my university because it opened new doors for me to accomplish my dreams. UTRGV offered me – a first-generation college student – the chance to attend debt free and to continue to stay close to my family. Staying close to friends and family while in school gave me a calm state of mind and allowed me to have the nearby support and love of my community. 

What made you decide on your current major?
Having to choose my major was a very difficult process. I did not know what I loved or what I had a passion for. All I knew was that I had to attend the university and sooner or later I would discover what my dream was. During the summer of 2015 just before attending UTRGV I participated in a summer engineering program that allowed me to discover if engineering would be the degree of my choice. I knew I enjoyed engineering as I was an active member of my engineering club in high school and a math enthusiast, which made me think this was the path I was going to choose. But during that same summer in my spare time I read books on psychological illness by authors such as Oliver Sacks and Sigmund Freud. These readings and the illnesses I observed in others taught me that psychiatry was my dream to follow. 

What are your plans after graduation?
I plan to attend the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston to pursue my dream of becoming a psychiatrist. After I graduate from medical school and finish my residency, I would like to contribute to curing illnesses in underdeveloped countries around the world. 

What are you involved in on and off campus?
On campus I am involved in an Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP), which gave me the opportunity to be conditionally accepted into medical school. I also participate in the International Student Organization, the UTRGV Running Club, and the UTRGV Aspire program. Out of school, I am an active member of my church and do volunteer service that inspires others to pursue their dreams. 

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
As I continue to demonstrate that any dream can be accomplished, I am happy to say I made it onto the Dean’s List. I was also recognized as an outstanding participant of the Aspire program and gained acceptance into the EMSAP program that only accepts five students per cohort. 

What advice do you have for future students?
I did not let the challenges of being a first-generation college student, coming from a very low-income family or having to work to continue helping my family keep me from attending and succeeding at UTRGV. I encourage everyone to pursue their dream and never let anyone or anything put you down for what you believe you can accomplish.