EPCC Graduate Takes Part in Humanitarian Effort
Oscar Ruben Velasquez, an alum from El Paso Community College (EPCC), fundraised along with other students from New Mexico State University (NMSU) to travel to Guatemala through an organization called NMSU Global Brigades, a chapter designed to gather up students interested in medicine and send them to underdeveloped countries to experience medicine abroad.
The students traveled to Agua Escondida, Guatemala, a community clearly in need of medical help. Accompanied with licensed doctors from Honduras and Guatemala, Velasquez observed, learned, helped getting the medication the doctor prescribed to the patients, presented information about common diseases to community members, and logged patient interactions
“The experience itself was very humbling and eye opening. Many of these people had never seen a doctor so many of their sicknesses were untreated until we arrived,” Velasquez said. “When we arrived in the community, many of the members were already there waiting to be seen by us and we were welcomed with an applause. As if we were there to save them and they gave us such a warm welcome. They were happy we were there.”
Velasquez is currently a Biology major at NMSU and minoring in Chemistry and Human Biology. Graduated from EPCC with three degrees: A.S. in Biological Sciences, A.S. in Multidisciplinary Studies in Science, and an A.A in Multidisciplinary Studies. Also, Velasquez was an awardee at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) when he was part of the RISE to the Challenge research program under Dr. Maria Alvarez who states: “This exemplifies the dedication of students and faculty mentors in the program. Participation in national conferences like ABRCMS gives visibility to our students and they have the opportunity to hear presentations by prestigious scientists, network, and learn about future training opportunities and graduate schools.”
Velasquez wanted to share this experience with all EPCC students who are interested in medicine so they can seek opportunities such as this one. “This experience showed me what it takes to be a physician and in general it showed me how the healthcare system works.”
Through participation in the RISE to the Challenge Bridge Program, students have developed not only scientific and technical skills, but critical, communication, computer, and data analysis skills as well. Learning to operate state-of-the-art research equipment at EPCC and our partner universities, provide students with practical skills that could result in potential job opportunities in the future. For more information on the Rise to the Challenge Bridge Program, contact Dr. Maria Alvarez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (915) 831-5074.